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Wintry week could be capped by 'significant snowstorm' this weekend

Any hopes the recent return of cold and snow might be a flash-in-the-pan blast of winter before a return of the unseasonable warmth that characterized December and early January will surely be dashed this week.

And, maybe through the end of the month, too, forecasters said.

A chilly week is forecast with "the potential for a significant snowstorm next weekend," the National Weather Service said.

Forecasters said it's still a little too early to tell which track the storm system may take.

It could either affect the Buffalo Niagara region head-on, or take a decidedly more southerly route and deliver Western New York a glancing blow.

But, one thing's for sure: It will be something forecasters will be keeping close eyes on all week.

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Here's what the weather service says to expect:

Monday

Mostly sunny skies with highs in the upper 20s with partly cloudy conditions overnight and lows in the low 20s.

Tuesday

Chances for snow showers later in the day with highs in the low to mid-30s and overnight lows near 30 degrees. Southwest winds could gust close to 40 mph in association with an Alberta clipper crossing the region.

Wednesday

Widespread snow showers are expected from the clipper system. Breezy conditions are forecast to remain around the region. Daytime highs in the low to mid-30s.

Overnight lows will be below normal behind the passing cold front, dipping down to about 12 degrees.

Thursday

Mostly sunny, highs in the upper 20s.

Friday

Chances for snow showers. Otherwise cloudy with highs in the low to mid-30s.

Overnight lows are forecast to dip back into the upper teens.

Weekend

Frigid and snowy.

Daytime highs next Sunday aren't forecast to escape the middle teens. (Image courtesy of the National Weather Service)

Weather service forecasters said uncertainty remains where a significant snowstorm forecast next weekend will impact the hardest.

A faster strengthening storm system could track closer to Western New York. But, if it takes more time to develop, forecasters said it could track south of the region in a similar way as to the snowstorm this past weekend that impacted the Ohio Valley and Middle Atlantic states.

"A consensus of model guidance suggest there is likely to be at least a period of snow Saturday and Sunday," the weather service said. "Significant snow accumulations are certainly a possibility but are far from certain either."

Forecasters pointed out that despite the early differences in forecast models, they expect more cold air will invade the Buffalo Niagara region behind its passage.

Forecasters said chances for snow increase Saturday and become likely overnight. Highs Saturday aren't forecast to make it out of the lower 20s.

Forecasts show they'll drop into the single digits overnight and daytime highs next Sunday could stay in the lower teens. Bitterly cold wind chills are also possible, forecasters said.

Beyond

There's up to a 70 percent chance that temperatures will be colder than average toward the end of the month in Western New York, federal climate scientists said. (Image courtesy of the Climate Prediction Center)

Federal climate forecasters expected winter will become entrenched across the middle and parts of the eastern United States for the second half of January.

The six-to-10-day and eight-to-14-day outlooks suggest heightened probabilities for below-average temperatures across Western New York through at least Jan. 27.

Climate projections show colder than average air could dominate for the second half of January.

Some other national climate experts think the drastic pattern shift could even be more long-lasting – possibly until, gulp, March.

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