Our First Real Taste Of Winter: The Whole Nine Yards

An Arctic cold front will sweep across Western New York from the Northwest later in the week, bringing with it snow, a possible freeze, and possible record low maximum temperatures.  

The setup: A shot of Arctic air from Canada will attach to the Jet Stream, which will then be dumped across the Great Lakes region and parts of the Northeast later Thursday through Saturday. This will bring Western New York its first actual taste of winter, with the coldest air we’ve seen so far this season, and a chance for snow showers.

Rain showers will precede the arrival of the front on Thursday, as we will still be in “warmer” air. As the colder air ahead of the front starts to push in Thursday night, this will result in a burst of moderate to heavy snow across the area. We could also see our first “thundersnow” event of the season in some of the heaviest snowfall. There could also be some lake-effect mixing into this equation off Lake Erie, especially in areas South and East of the lake.

As the front starts to push in, temperatures will sharply dip from the mid-40s, down to the upper 20s, which will set the stage for a possible flash freeze (accumulated snow/slush that rapidly freezes as a burst of very cold air passes over it, creating icy conditions on roadways). While it looks like most roadways should remain warm enough to allow the slippery snow to melt, elevated roadways, and especially bridges, are very susceptible to flash freezing.

Snowfall Accumulations: Yes, this snow will accumulate. Not quite snow shovel or snow blower-worthy accumulation, but enough to give a nice white coating across the region. Models point to snowfall totals between two and three inches. However, we could tack on another inch or two in areas where lake-effect comes into play.

Record Lows and Recorded Low Highs Possible: This blast of cold air will deliver the first real sight of frigid temperatures we’ve seen so far this year across Western New York but along with that, comes the potential to smash a couple records along the way, not in the nicest of fashion. The lowest recorded high temperature for Friday is 30 degrees, set way back in 1877. There’s a very good chance we’ll break that, as we will struggle to even see a number close to 30 throughout the day on Friday. The record low for the date is 10 degrees, set in 1991. We’ll likely come very, very close to tying that record Friday night.

First Defense 5-Day Forecast Details:

Thursday: Partly to Mostly Sunny early, clouds increase throughout the day.  Highs in the upper 40s. Southwest wind 7 to 14 MPH.

Thursday Night: Rain showers, turning to snow early. Some of the snow could be heavy, with thunder. Lows in the lower 20s. Breezy North-northwest wind around 20 MPH, with gusts up to 30 MPH. 1.5 to 2 inches of accumulation possible; localized higher totals with added lake effect S&E of Lake Erie.

Friday: Snow showers, otherwise partly cloudy. Cold, with highs in the mid-20s. Breezy North wind 16 to 24 MPH. Wind chill values in the lower teens. <1 inch of new snow accumulation.

Friday night: Snow showers early, becoming partly to mostly cloudy. Very cold, with lows in the lower teens; upper single digits possible in the valleys. North wind 6 to 9 MPH. Wind chill values in the single digits. <1 inch of new snow accumulation.

Saturday: Partly cloudy. Not quite as frigid, with highs in the upper 30s. Southeast wind 4 to 8 MPH.

Saturday Night: Partly to Mostly Cloudy. Cold. Lows in the mid-20s. Light wind.

Sunday: Early snow showers, turning to a wintry mix in the afternoon. Mostly cloudy. Highs in the lower 40s. Southeast wind 7 to 12 MPH.