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Winter weather advisory for metro Buffalo promises slippery morning commute

A narrow band of lake-effect snow from Lake Huron covered metro Buffalo in a thin layer of white Wednesday evening.

The National Weather Service says there’s more to come — before sunrise.

“That first band settled south in Erie County,” said meteorologist Jon Hitchcock at the NWS station at Buffalo Niagara International Airport in Cheektowaga, “but there’s plenty of snow over Lake Ontario that’s going to move down overnight.

“Most of this will be tonight and the first half of tomorrow,” Hitchcock noted. “I think the morning commute will be pretty slippery everywhere.”

Hitchcock estimated Wednesday evening that total snowfall might total only 2 or 3 inches in and around Buffalo. He said heavier snow was likely east and south of the city. Genesee and Orleans counties could see 4 to 7 inches, he noted. Parts of eastern Niagara County and northeastern Erie County might get that much too, he added.

Earlier, the National Weather Service posted a winter weather advisory for northern Erie County along with Niagara, Orleans and Genesee counties, through 1 p.m. Thursday.

Areas in the traditional snow belt south and east of Buffalo registered the deepest snow readings earlier Wednesday, the National Weather Service reported. Ellicottville in Cattaraugus County had 7 inches by 7 p.m. Cherry Creek in Chautauqua County measured 6 inches. A trained spotter in Sardinia in southern Erie County reported 6.5 inches. The weather station at the airport measured an official 2.2 inches at 9 p.m.

Another foot or more of snow was possible in ski country by Thursday evening, the National Weather Service reported.

A winter storm warning is posted for southern Erie County along with Wyoming, Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties through 6 p.m. Thursday. Allegany County was under a winter weather advisory.

"Travel could become very difficult," the weather service said. "Areas of blowing snow could significantly reduce visibility."

Forecasters said winds gusting up to 45 mph would result in those areas of blowing snow and reduced visibility.

The weather service expected hazardous conditions during the morning or evening commutes in affected areas where heavy snow was forecast to fall in narrow bands.

Snowfall rates of 1 to 2 inches per hour were likely.

Up to another foot of snow is possible across the higher elevations of Western New York through Thursday evening. The metro Buffalo area is forecast to receive about 3 to 4 inches. (National Weather Service)

Tonight's overnight low was forecast to be in the low 20s, but with breezy northwesterly winds, wind chills were expected to dip into the single digits by dawn Thursday, the weather service said.

Occasional snow with chances for more snow showers in metro Buffalo was forecast Thursday as well.

Buffalo's coldest daytime high temperature since Thanksgiving Day is expected Thursday – just 24 degrees.

It will mark the first time since Dec. 11 that Buffalo's recorded a sub-freezing high temperature.

Chances for snow showers remained in the forecast for metro Buffalo later Thursday night with overnight lows in the middle teens. Northwesterly winds will keep wind chills in the single digits, forecasters said.

Friday is expected to be even chillier than Thursday, with temperatures topping out around 20 degrees as a high pressure system builds into the area. It should be a more pleasant day, however. The wind is forecast to diminish to a light breeze and there should be partly sunny skies.

Forecasters predicted that the high pressure will keep Western New York cold all weekend, with scattered snow showers. The good news, they say, is that it will push away a storm system moving up the East Coast from the south on Saturday – stopping its heavy snowfall south of the state line.

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