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Spring to vanish as high winds, possible thunderstorms usher in weekend

There is still weather to contend with, and plenty of it is headed our way for the end of the week. For one thing, by Friday much of Western New York faces the risk of high winds with damaging gusts, as well as a limited threat of severe thunderstorms. The latter can be taken as an unwelcome marker for the advance of spring, though spring will vanish by Saturday.

The National Weather Service has issued a high wind watch for most of the region on Friday, which shows here as the counties in brown.

A deep area of low pressure with a strong cold front will be approaching WNY Friday morning. The front may trigger a few severe thunderstorms, with damaging winds as a possibility. There is a marginal risk for dangerous storms in the outlook from the Storm Prediction Center.

With a strong southwest wind whipping off the chilly Lake Erie waters, I would expect this thunderstorm threat to be greater farther inland, east and south of the metro area, away from the lake. Ahead of the front, inland temperatures will reach the 60s, with cooler readings closer to the lake. Following passage of the strong front around midday, there will be a jump in barometric pressure and the strong winds aloft will be transferred down to the surface. Some peak gusts may reach 60 mph, with average wind speeds of 30-40 mph (25-35 mph farther inland) and numerous gusts reaching at least 50 mph in the afternoon. Those 60s will tumble into the 40s by late in the day. This high resolution model depicts some thunderstorms in our area early in the day.

Temperatures will drop well into the 20s before Saturday morning, with any lingering rain showers turning into some weak lake flurries before ending.

All this will follow a fairly nice, mild Thursday with light winds and a few early showers giving way to some sunny breaks in the afternoon, with temperatures approaching 60, except cooler near Lake Ontario. Showers will increase Thursday night, with some moderate to heavy rain before morning, along with the thunderstorm threat. Temperatures will rise into the 60s by the predawn hours Friday.

By Saturday we’ll be dry with plenty of sunshine, but temperatures will be well below average, as seen here in the European model.

More bright sun will be with us on Sunday, with a high in the upper 30s. We’ll be a little unsettled with a few showers and temperatures in the mid 40s early next week.

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