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Poor travel conditions expected as lake-effect band blows back towards Southtowns

Evening commuters heading to the Southtowns might want to take it easy as a lake-effect snow band that dumped 3 inches of snow in the Buffalo metro area this morning drifts back south.

"It's out of the City of Buffalo, but the southern Buffalo metro can still expect some poor travel conditions," said Heather Kenyon, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport in Cheektowaga.

Those conditions are expected to hold for the next few hours before the band swiftly moves from the Southtowns and into the Southern Tier, where it will settle for the night, Kenyon added.

"It's going to settle across the Southern Tier and then diminish, so we're not expecting it to move back into the Buffalo metro area tonight," said Kenyon.

However, strong winds will continue into the evening with wind gusts up to 40 mph are expected before diminishing later tonight.

Thursday should be dry with high temperatures in the low 30s, Kenyon said.

Western New Yorkers woke up to heavy lake-effect snow, with the band moving into downtown Buffalo just in time for the Wednesday morning commute.

Skies cleared as the bands moved north through the region.

The lake-effect snow bands producing snowfall rates of 1 to 2 inches per hour settled in Niagara County in the morning, then headed back to the Buffalo metro area and the Southtowns in the early afternoon.

Like the morning, blowing snow is expected with winds of up to 40 mph possible. The National Weather Service reported wind speeds Wednesday afternoon of 47 mph in Buffalo, 43 in Dunkirk and 41 at the Buffalo airport.

Early-morning commuters from the Southtowns had their pace slowed by slippery, snow-covered roads and sideways-falling snow, as forecasters had predicted. Later in the morning, slow drives were also reported from drivers coming from the Northtowns.

The City of Tonawanda Police Department said it responded to six automobile accidents during the morning storm.

As expected, snowfall was heavy at times, but because it did not remain in any one spot for too long, accumulation totals were held down.

NWS spotter reports had West Seneca receiving 5 inches of snow, Lackawanna 4 and the Buffalo airport 3.

The National Weather Service issued three advisories about the storm on Tuesday – one for Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties that called for 4 to 7 inches of snow; and separate warnings for the Southtowns and for Buffalo and the Northtowns, where 3 to 6 inches are possible. Niagara and Orleans counties were expected to get only an inch or two.

The advisory for Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties continues through 1 a.m. Thursday.

The advisory for southern Erie and Wyoming counties continues through 10 p.m. Wednesday.

The advisory for northern Erie County, including Buffalo, and Genesee County is through 5 p.m. Wednesday. (On Wednesday morning the end of the advisory was pulled back from 7 p.m. to 5 p.m.)

The rest of the week is not nearly as snow-filled. There is a slight chance of snow showers Thursday before 11 a.m. The next time snow is in the forecast is a possibility of snow and rain Saturday night and a chance of snow Sunday.

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