Win­ter shows up ahead of sched­ule

Ear­li­est snow­fall in years sets stage for up to 7 inches of ac­cu­mu­la­tion to­day in south­ern Erie County and 3-5 inches in parts of metro Buf­falo

The Buffalo News - - CITY&REGION - By T.J. Pig­nataro NEWS STAFF RE­PORTER

Did you look out the win­dow Fri­day and groan at the snow fall­ing in early No­vem­ber? Does this week­end seem a lit­tle early for a la­ke­ef­fect snow­storm in Buf­falo?

With 2 inches of snow fore­cast in metro Buf­falo, and pos­si­bly as much as 5 inches in per­sis­tent snow bands, there are some good rea­sons to feel that way.


The last time the sea­son’s first 2 inches of snow fell this early was 2007.

The last time 3 inches fell this early was the Oc­to­ber Sur­prise storm of 2006.

On aver­age, the city records its first 2-inch snow­fall on Nov. 25.

And only one month ago, it was 81 de­grees.

“It’s just a lit­tle early,” said Jim Mitchell, me­te­o­rol­o­gist the Na­tional Weather Ser­vice in Buf­falo. “Once we’re in No­vem­ber, it’s not un­usual. We’re about there.”

Metro Buf­falo and the eastern sub­urbs were ex­pected to re­ceive the first flurry of lake-ef­fect snow­fall early this morn­ing, with most areas ac­cu­mu­lat­ing about 2 inches of snow, but with 3 to 5 inches pos­si­ble “in the most per­sis­tent snow bands,” the weather ser­vice said.

Fore­cast mod­els showed a band of snow with up to 1 inch per hour of snow­fall would set up through about mid­day be­fore south­west­erly winds shift more west­erly, steer­ing the band to the south for the rest of the day.


“Our best chance (in the Buf­falo metro area) will be over the early morn­ing un­til about noon,” Mitchell said. “Then, the band is go­ing to shift to the south.”

That’s where the heav­i­est lake-ef­fect snow was ex­pected to fall through Sat­ur­day night – over south­ern Erie County and across the Chau­tauqua Ridge. As much as 7 inches is pos­si­ble.

Tem­per­a­tures are ex­pected to stall in the low to mid-30s. The aver­age high in Buf­falo for Sat­ur­day’s date is 50 de­grees.

“This will be the cold­est air of the sea­son, by far,” Mitchell said.

Be­sides the snow and cold, winds are fore­cast to gust over 40 mph. Fore­cast­ers said that could cre­ate some prob­lems with vis­i­bil­ity on area roads. And, it will drop wind chills into the teens.

Chances for snow, mixed pre­cip­i­ta­tion and tem­per­a­tures in the 30s also are in the fore­cast Sun­day, but lake-ef­fect snow should ta­per off, the weather ser­vice said.

When light to moder­ate wet snow fell Fri­day morn­ing in metro Buf­falo, so­cial me­dia was abuzz. But, much of the snow fell onto warm ground and quickly melted. Then, pre­cip­i­ta­tion turned over to rain for a time in the af­ter­noon, elim­i­nat­ing most of the rest of any morn­ing ac­cu­mu­la­tion.

As that snow fell, Buf­falo’s pub­lic works crews got ready for Sat­ur­day’s im­pend­ing lake-ef­fect snow. About 30 plows were ex­pected to be dis­patched over the week­end, based on the weather con­di­tions, said Steven J. Step­niak, com­mis­sioner of Pub­lic Works, Parks and Streets dur­ing a press con­fer­ence in City Hall on Fri­day.

Plows were out Fri­day morn­ing for an an­nual test phase of routes.

Of­fi­cially, the Buf­falo Ni­a­gara In­ter­na­tional Air­port logged 0.6 inches of snow through noon.

It wasn’t the first mea­sur­able now in Buf­falo this sea­son. That came on Oct. 20 when fore­cast­ers mea­sured 0.1 inch of grau­pel – which counts as snow in the record books.

On aver­age, the city records its first inch of snow Nov. 20. Last year, the sea­son’s first snow­fall of an inch or more with 1.7 inches on Dec. 6.

If you’re look­ing for any sort of warmup soon, maybe head to­ward Florida. Tem­per­a­tures are fore­cast to re­main be­low nor­mal around West­ern New York for at least the next week to 10 days, fore­casts show. That in­cludes a de­vel­op­ing nor’easter that could bring some rain and snow to the re­gion Tues­day. Be­hind that? Even colder air, and prob­a­bly more snow.

“It’ll be very cold be­hind that,” Mitchell said. “Prob­a­bly even colder than what we’ve got com­ing (to­day).”

Derek Gee/Buf­falo News

Marielle Smith walks down Elm­wood Av­enue in Buf­falo on her way to work Fri­day as the first snow­fall of the sea­son ar­rives.

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