After the dramatic overnight warmup into Wednesday morning, with readings rising from the teens to the upper 30s (tempered by a wind which has gusted to 40 mph), don’t get tempted to vanquish thoughts of icy temperatures from your mind. They will be returning, but not just yet.
The gusty wind will diminish from the southwest Wednesday afternoon to 10-20 mph, though a few light snow showers or drizzle may show up in the afternoon.
Some overnight snow showers may deposit up to an inch of new accumulation by Thursday morning in some locations.
On Thursday, a slow-moving cold front will trigger some more light snow and rain showers, with spotty minor accumulations in the afternoon after cold front passes, as light winds veer northeast.
Temperatures will slowly fall through the 30s during the afternoon and be down to the mid teens by Friday morning, probably not reaching 20 on Friday. A north-northeast breeze of 12-18 mph will produce a wind chill in the low single digits, with some low moisture weak lake snow streaming off Lake Ontario across parts of the Niagara Frontier.
Saturday, game day, will be the coldest of all, though shy of “unprecedented.” A polar ridge of high pressure will be centered over Ontario, bringing in a northeast flow of the coldest air mass so far this winter, with a daytime high of 7-10 degrees.
For anyone with the quaint idea of starting tailgating in the morning, you’ll be dealing with a northeast breeze of 10 to occasionally 15 mph. With a temperature of around 8 degrees, that will produce this wind chill, close to -7.
Later in the afternoon, the wind will run about 7-12 mph and, with a 10 degree reading, produce a wind chill near -3. By game time, winds are modeled east-northeast at 6-10 mph, hardly howling. Even at those speeds, the average wind chill during the game will be -4 to -8, with temps in the single digits. No doubt, there will be a fair amount of alcoholic imbibing during this long stretch in the very cold conditions. Alcohol will make you lose more body heat, but don’t take my word for it:
Temps will drop to closer to zero after the game. Other than some daytime flurries, the game period looks dry.
We’ll warm to the mid 20s on Sunday with a southerly flow, with more abundant sunshine.
Monday is the day to watch. Early on, there is a wide spread between the global models as to what track a deepening storm will take as it heads northeast, so attach the word “maybe” to your stormy thoughts. The European/ECMWF takes the storm far enough to the east to leave our western counties out of the heavy snow.
The Canadian GEM is much farther west, and does bring moderate to heavy snow into WNY Monday.
Finally, there’s the American GFS model, which has been “gung ho” since Tuesday.
Having shown you output from operational models, I can tell you the ensemble means of these models, consisting of many multiple runs of each model with slightly different initial conditions, are not nearly as aggressive in taking the storm so close to us as in the GFS and GEM.
There will be many more runs of these models to go through over the next few days. For now the mean/average of the ensembles are probably preferable over the individual operational models, and those ensemble means all have the storm quite a bit farther east of us. So you can color this meteorologist skeptical on a big hit in WNY Monday … so far.