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Don Paul: Localized lake snow into Friday night; widespread snow by Sunday

Don Paul: Localized lake snow into Friday night; widespread snow by Sunday

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Friday has been turning out to be the most wintry day so far this season, as expected. Temperatures have been holding from the upper 20s at high elevations to the low 30s elsewhere, with a raw wind chill in the upper teens to low 20s. The gusty wind will produce some blowing snow where it accumulates, with reduced visibility. The west-northwest flow is evident in satellite imagery, with moisture streamers coming off Lake Erie, mainly into the Southern Tier, and Lakes Huron and western Lake Ontario as well.

The end result of this flow was evident in Doppler radar imagery.

However, there is good agreement in Friday models of less organization to the lake effect than had been seen in Thursday guidance. During Thursday, it appeared some parts of the Chautauqua Ridge and rural southern Erie County below the Southtowns were going to see localized amounts of 6 to 10 or 11 inches. In newer guidance, those amounts look overdone to me, and may come down to 4 to 7 inches in a few locations. A slight additional veering of the wind to more northwest may also focus a little more of the snow into far northwest Erie County, Pa., and a little less on the Chautauqua Ridge.

During Thursday, guidance depicted more snow in Chautauqua County in modeled accumulations.

On Friday, note the reduction in Chautauqua amounts by Saturday morning in the new guidance by comparison.

The lesser amounts on the Niagara Frontier, from the Buffalo Southtowns north to Lake Ontario, will be more scattered in coverage than the moderate to marginally heavy amounts well south, because streamers off Lakes Huron and Ontario will be less persistent.

Saturday will bring some improvement. Coverage for any lingering lake snow will be quite sparse, and there will be less wind chill than on Friday, with readings edging up into the mid 30s under a partly sunny sky.

The next round of snow headed our way will be of the non-lake effect variety. An area of low pressure will be headed into eastern Great Lakes by Saturday evening, sending some periods of more widespread/synoptic snow our way.

This snow will be accompanied by only light winds, so blowing snow will not be a problem. Saturday night temperatures will drop back to the upper 20s, and reach the mid 30s on Sunday, meaning some daytime melting is likely to occur. Snow will probably increase in coverage during Sunday afternoon, as modeled here:

The current trajectory of this low pressure system seems to favor up to 2 inches by Sunday evening on the Niagara Frontier. A northwest flow behind the low will likely develop some lake-effect snow Sunday night into Monday morning, favoring several inches more over hilly terrain, such as the Chautauqua Ridge, where more than a fresh 4 inches will be possible, with lighter amounts on the Niagara Frontier. There may be some slick spots on the roads for the Monday morning commute.

It appears there will be passing disturbances producing occasional chances of snow showers Monday into Wednesday, though nothing major is indicated. Temperatures will be seasonably cold Monday in the mid 30s, showing some moderation to near 40 on Tuesday, the upper 30s on Wednesday and well into the 40s on Thursday and Friday.

The core of a stronger warming trend to our west never makes it as far east as our region, with a warm ridge of high pressure setting up over the west central U.S. The Climate Prediction Center projects our temperatures running close to average during the 6-14 day period.

At that time, the average high drops slowly through the low 40s toward 39 by Dec. 9.

The actual extended range upper air ensembles show renewed, sharper cooling returning by Dec. 5-6, at least for several days. This is the projected upper air pattern for Dec. 6.

If this timing were to verify, you could expect a pretty chilly atmosphere for the Bills-Patriots game that night, keeping in mind we’re looking out 10 days in advance. This kind of pattern could be reflected at the surface with temperatures in the 30s. At such a time range, I wouldn’t even venture a wild guess on precipitation. It's doubtful a wintry night would phase the Pats and Belichick any more than our guys, so there's no help there to for those who dabble in wagering.

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