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Freezing rain thaws into sprinkles as weather advisory expires

Freezing rain switched over to just rain Monday — after an icy, slippery start to the evening.

A winter weather advisory remained in effect until 10 p.m. for northern Erie County along with Niagara, Orleans and Genesee counties and temperatures are on the rise for overnight, according to Jon Hitchcock, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport in Cheektowaga.

"The temperatures are warming above freezing now or in the mid-30s in most places. So the risk is ending for any freezing rain," Hitchcock said shortly before 9 p.m. on Monday.

He said the winter weather advisory remained in effect until 1 a.m. in the Southern Tier.

"Down in the Southern Tier in Cattaraugus, Allegany and Wyoming counties, it is still below freezing. In some of those sheltered valleys, they take longer to warm up, so there will still be sleet and freezing rain down there through late this evening," Hitchcock added.

The early January weather doldrums ended shortly after noon Monday — as the National Weather Service forecasted a couple hours of sleet, snow and freezing rain for the evening commute.

"It was mostly freezing rain, not much snow at all," Hitchcock said.

In a special weather statement issued this afternoon, the weather service warned that driving conditions could be difficult.

The precipitation started to diminish from west to east by about 4 p.m. A winter weather advisory was posted for all of Western New York.

The weather service had forecast mixed precipitation for Monday evening as warmer air overrode a colder air mass, which was expected to bring periods of snow, sleet and freezing rain across the region.

However, the total ice accumulation has, so far, been less than one-tenth of an inch, as forecasters predicted.

Rising temperatures overnight were expected to change whatever precipitation remained to all rain tonight into early Tuesday morning, the weather service said.

The mercury was forecast to rise into the lower 40s by dawn — but it will be windy.

Southerly winds could gust as high as 36 mph, the weather service said.

"The colder air comes back in Tuesday night, and the rain will change to snow Tuesday night and we'll have snow, on and off, throughout Wednesday and Wednesday night," Hitchcock said.

"There will be some accumulation in the lower elevations and the higher terrains south of here," he added.

It posted a wind advisory for some areas south of Buffalo from late Monday afternoon to early Tuesday morning. Winds could gust as high as 50 mph, the weather service said.

Chances for showers remained in Tuesday's forecast. Otherwise, it's expected to be mostly cloudy, with daytime highs in the mid-40s.

Precipitation chances increase again overnight Tuesday.

Forecasters said rain showers are forecast to continue just after midnight before some snow starts mixing in.

By Wednesday, colder air is expected. That will result in precipitation falling in the form of snow showers, the weather service said. Highs are expected in the low to mid-30s. Forecasters expect it to stay breezy.

The end of the week could feature the first return to sub-freezing daytime highs in nearly a month. Highs Thursday aren't expected to escape the upper 20s.

The last daytime high below 32 degrees in Buffalo was Dec. 11 — when it was 31.

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