Messy Sunday: Lake Effect Snow On The Way

A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect for Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, and southern Erie Counties from 4 AM Sunday until 1 PM Monday with the potential for accumulating lake effect snow.

The setup: A strong Cold front associated with the system will plow across the region, producing mixed precipitation Saturday night. Winds increase in the wake of the front, which will introduce a notably colder airmass into the area for Sunday. This cold airmass will generate accumulating lake snows southeast of both Lake Erie and Ontario Sunday into Monday.

Although the actual track of the storm system is passing too close to the area to be a damaging wind threat, it will certainly become windy; the strongest winds are expected after midnight tonight, when wind gusts could approach 45 MPH, with the highest winds found along the Lake Erie shoreline and along higher elevations of the Southern Tier.

The rain begins a changeover to a wintery mix after Midnight tonight, as colder air filters into the region. It’s not out of the question that the hillier terrains of the Southern Tier could pick up a nice coating of wet, slushy, accumulation during this time. The precipitation transitions over to complete lake effect by Sunday morning, lasting through early Monday.

How Much Snow?: We are currently expecting an average snow total of 3 to 6 inches across the Southern Tier, with some localized totals up to 8 inches possible, especially in localized areas where the most organized lake snow bands set up. Temperatures are forecast to only dip into the lower to mid 30s across the area on Sunday; this will be the limiting factor for more significant snow accumulations.

As usual with the localized nature of lake effect, weather conditions can very from clear skies, to narrow bands of lake effect with reduced visibilities just a few miles away. If you’re going to be heading out this weekend, use your winter driving skills, and leave yourself some extra time to adapt to the changing driving conditions.