Share this article

print logo

Wintry blast a prelude of frigid, snowy week to come

Think of Friday's wintry wallop as an opening act.

Weather experts are forecasting another storm system expected to bear down on the Buffalo Niagara region early next week with a chance of more heavy snow.

Behind that? They expect a polar blast of subzero temperatures, dangerously cold wind chills and even more snow.

Call it a one-two-three punch.

"It’s going to be a cold one," said Dan Kelly, meteorologist at the National Weather Service. "Looking at the long-range 6-10 day outlook, that blue is so dark on the map it’s hard to see."

That means unseasonably cold weather is a near certainty, Kelly said.

The storm system Tuesday is expected to bring snow across the region and pull some of the coldest air this season behind it across the Great Lakes.

By Tuesday night, the mercury is expected to dive into the single digits from an infusion of polar air. That air mass will ensure temperatures don't make it any higher than single digits for daytime highs on Wednesday and Thursday. Overnight lows are forecast below zero, the weather service said.

The record low for Jan. 30 – a minus 3 set in 2003 – could be in jeopardy Wednesday.

Forecast models show it could also be windy. Winds of 20 mph with air temperatures in the single digits can make it feel like it's minus 20 to minus 30 degrees.

Polar vortex is back: Extreme, record-breaking cold forecast next week

Depending on wind direction across Lake Erie, the region could be ripe for heavy lake-effect snow. Usually, much of the lake is frozen by late January, but not this year. It's the price for having an unseasonably warm December.

"That was one of the big factors there," Kelly said. "We didn’t get the big long cold snaps to freeze it."

The lake temperature finally reached 32 degrees this week, but there's still plenty of open water. It takes an extra push – and calmer waves – to pull that extra degree of heat from the water in order to form ice.

That could keep the lake-effect machine revved up.

"As for snowfall, while Lake Erie is at 32 and icing has begun, it’s going to take quite a while before ice cover becomes sufficient to really cut down lake-effect," according to Don Paul, contributing meteorologist to The Buffalo News, in his recent blog entry about the polar vortex.

Don Paul: A weaker polar vortex does us in

Lake Erie's open water set the stage for Friday's lake-effect snowstorm that whipped its way across the region from metro Buffalo and the Southtowns, and then back to the north again.

In the process, it scattered a half-foot of snow across nearly all of Erie County and counties to the east and blew it around in 30 mph winds.

The National Weather Service reported 6.8 inches at Buffalo Niagara International Airport as of about 4 p.m.

Other local storm totals included: Boston, 13.7 inches; Aurora, 10.4 inches; Akron, 9.4 inches and Wales, 8.5 inches.

Portions of the New York State Thruway were closed Friday morning after a tractor-trailer jackknifed between the Angola and Silver Creek exits. And, a multivehicle crash was also reported around the same time during heavy lake-effect snow between Silver Creek and Dunkirk.

The lake-effect snow is expected to wind down early Saturday, but it doesn't mean it's done.

Chances for snow showers remain in the forecast Sunday and are expected to increase to 80 percent overnight Saturday as the result of a widespread snow with lake enhancement.

"Saturday night into Sunday, we could see in the City of Buffalo and the Buffalo metro area another 2 to 4 inches," Kelly said.

Temperatures are expected to peak in the upper teens Saturday and the low 20s on Sunday with overnight lows in the teens Saturday night and single digits Sunday night, the weather service forecast showed.

There are no comments - be the first to comment