What to expect in the next 48 hours: City’s heaviest lake-effect snow to arrive as colder air continues to ‘pour across the region’ – Buffalo News

OK, Buffalo, get ready for your turn. The lake-effect snowstorm that pounded the Southtowns was set to hit areas along the shoreline and northeast of Lake Erie through Friday night.

This is when the heaviest snow will impact the Buffalo area, according to the National Weather Service update at 3:10 p.m. Friday.

“Lake snows will then shift north and west of (Buffalo) Saturday before dropping back southward Saturday night into Sunday, with cold blustery conditions to close out the weekend and start the new work week,” the National Weather Service said.

So as Buffalo takes on the snow, southern Erie County should start to get a break as the band of lake-effect snow drifts slowly northward.

Those in the southern part of the county are in need of a break.

Conditions are “extremely dangerous” in the Southtowns, according to the Erie County Department of Public Works. The department’s plows are getting stuck due to hard-packed snow and ice underneath newly fallen snow, the department said in a Twitter post.

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“Colder air will continue to pour across the region, resulting in a heavy lake-effect snow lasting through this weekend,” the weather service said.

Earlier Friday, a travel ban was reinstituted for the City of Buffalo from William Street downtown to the Town of Cheektowaga line and everything south, according to Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz.

“PLEASE do not drive in or into this area. Conditions have deteriorated very quickly,” he tweeted.

At 5 p.m. Friday, the National Weather Service posted snowfall totals of 54 inches in Orchard Park, 48 inches in Blasdell and Elma; and 41 inches in East Aurora.

Some areas could get another couple of feet before the storm ends.

By the time the storm ends Monday, southern Erie County could get 1 foot to 2.5 feet more. The Buffalo area will get an additional 1 to 2 feet, while Niagara County will receive 8 inches to 12 inches more, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Liz Jurkowski.

The snow closed parts of the Thruway and Routes 219 and 400, and a travel ban remains in effect for the central portion of Erie County.

Despite the ban, authorities report numerous vehicles stranded in hard-hit areas, particularly Hamburg.

Travel ban map

Also, the Thruway is closed from Exit 53 (I-190) to Exit 59 (Dunkirk). No traffic can enter between those exits, the Thruway Authority announced in a tweet.

A lake-effect snow band hovered over southern Erie County for much of the morning, extending from the Lake Erie shoreline of Chautauqua County to Hamburg, West Seneca and Attica.

“This lake effect snow band is producing extremely heavy snow at the rate of 2 to 3 inches per hour,” the Weather Service warned.

When the storm departs, likely by Sunday morning, it is expected to have left several feet of snow in some areas.

  • A lake-effect snow warning remains in effect until 1 a.m. Saturday for southern Erie, Wyoming, and Chautauqua counties.
  • A lake-effect snow warning remains in effect until 1 p.m. Sunday for northern Erie and Genesee counties.
  • A lake-effect snow warning is in effect in Niagara County from 7 p.m. Friday until 7 a.m. Sunday.

National Weather Service

The National Weather Service forecast Friday’s lake-effect band to remain over the Southtowns and Buffalo for most of the day.

Driving bans remain in effect in Cheektowaga, Lancaster, Alden, West Seneca, Elma, Marilla, Hamburg, Orchard Park, Aurora, Wales, Evans, Eden and Boston.

Lackawanna declared a state of emergency this morning, according to Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, who tweeted, “They have been keeping South Park Avenue, Abbott Road and other main roads open but it is very bad overall.”

Metro Bus & Rail started restoring service to routes not under a driving ban at noon, and advised riders to visit metro.nfta.com for updates. 

“We are still urging riders to stay home and only travel if absolutely necessary,” the NFTA said in a tweet.

While bus service in Erie County had been suspended today, Metro Rail remains operational. Metro Buses are running in Niagara County, Routes 50, 52, 55 and 59, according to the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority.

Here’s what to expect:

Friday night:

The lake-effect band finally will start to shift northward.

“It will start to shift north this evening and hit the city of Buffalo and start hitting the north towns between 10 p.m. and midnight,” Jurkowski said.

It will remain over the city and north towns and slowly migrate north into Niagara County by Saturday morning, she said.

Temperatures will drop into the upper teens across the southern tier and to the low 20s in Niagara and Erie counties.

The storm will remain in Niagara County throughout the day Saturday.

“When it’s over Niagara County, it’s going to weaken a little,” Jurkowski said.

Saturday will be dig-out day. It will be partly sunny in metro Buffalo, with a high near 28.

Saturday night:

The storm will shift to the south overnight Saturday.

As it shifts south Saturday, it intensifies and will get back to the 1 inch to 3 inches of snow per hour, she said. 

“It will shift south across the Buffalo metro into the south, and get to Chautauqua County early Sunday morning,” Jurkowski said.

It also will get breezy, with gusts around 20 mph.

The snow band will remain across Chautauqua County and southern Erie County, and it will be breezy, with gusts up to 45 mph.

“That’s going to blow some of that snow around, even if you’re not in the band,” Jurkowski said.

Sunday’s high will be about 26.

There’s a chance of rain and snow showers Monday afternoon. It will be mostly sunny, with a high near 36.

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