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Forecast calls for up to 2 feet of snow in lake-effect areas south of Buffalo

As much as 2 feet of lake-effect snow could fall between tonight and early Friday in some spots south of Buffalo, according to the National Weather Service.

A winter storm warning goes into effect at 1 a.m. Wednesday for Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Wyoming and southern Erie counties. The heavy lake-effect snow is expected between 1 a.m. Wednesday and 6 p.m. Thursday.

Metro Buffalo is expected to get about 4 inches of snow over the same time period, forecasters said.

Snowfall totals are expected to exceed a foot in many places south of Buffalo by Thursday. (National Weather Service)

As temperatures drop from the 40s into the 30s overnight, rain will transition to snow in the early morning hours Wednesday, forecasts show.

That will happen first in higher elevations. And that's where the heaviest snow will be found by the end of the week, forecasters said.

"Total snow accumulations of up to 2 feet expected in most persistent lake snows," the weather service said. "Travel could be very difficult to impossible."

Forecasters said the most persistent bands will most likely be found along the Chautauqua Ridge. Winds as high as 40 mph are also expected and blowing snow is likely, the weather service said.

For now, forecasters said expect about 4 inches of snow for metro Buffalo from early Wednesday to early Friday.

Once the mercury dips below freezing, which is expected late Wednesday, it could stay there through at least Sunday, forecasts show.

That hasn’t happened yet this season. Buffalo’s longest stretch of subfreezing weather lasted three days between Dec. 7 and 9.

Since Dec. 11, Buffalo’s high temperature has been at or above 32 degrees every day. That 28-day run and counting marks the second-longest streak on record to span December and January over the last half-century. Only a 32-day run from Dec. 9, 2006, to Jan. 9, 2007, was longer, weather service records show.

Half of those 28 days in the streak have even reached 40 degrees, including today.

Forecasts call for a high of 35 degrees Wednesday. With the wind, it’ll feel like it’s only in the low 20s.

Then, starting Thursday, highs aren’t expected to make it out of the 20s through at least Sunday.

(Weather Prediction Center)

Overall, Buffalo’s heading toward its coldest part of the calendar, on average.

Starting Sunday through Feb. 3, the city’s average high temperature is 31 degrees with a low of 18 degrees, records show.

Don Paul: A not-so-quick hit of wintry weather

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