A mixed bag of rain, sleet, freezing rain and snow is coming to Western New York late tonight into Friday depending on where you live in Western New York.
Then, big-time wintry weather is coming early next week with single-digit temperatures and more snow.
Welcome to winter. It officially began today.
Here’s what the National Weather Service says to expect:
A 100 percent chance for evening snow.
Up to an inch is possible with overnight lows in the mid to upper 20s.
Expect the snow to give way to a “mixed bag” of wintry precipitation as a warm front lifts across Western New York overnight.
A winter weather advisory is posted for all of Western New York starting at 10 p.m.
“A minimal amount of snow…will mix with or change to freezing rain during the wee hours of Friday morning with mixed icy precipitation prevailing between daybreak Friday and lunchtime,” the weather service said.
Forecasters added that “the ice could result in difficult travel conditions, including during the morning commute.”
It’ll be sort of the opposite of what normally happens in that snowfall will be heavier in the northern tier of the region.
For Niagara and Orleans counties, 3 to 5 inches of snow is possible by mid-day Friday.
For Erie County, including Buffalo, and Genesee County 1 to 3 inches of snow is possible, forecasters said.
Rain, snow and sleet come by late morning and early afternoon as daytime highs in the mid to upper 30s are expected.
“Mixed precipitation will push northward across areas south of the Thruway during the day Friday,” the weather service said. “Areas north of the Thruway…may remain cold enough for snow to continue through the day and possibly into early Friday night, while the mixed precipitation changes to all rain elsewhere as warmer air arrives behind the warm frontal passage.”
There’s a potential for freezing rain, forecasters said.
Some spots in the region could receive as much as one-tenth inch of ice accumulation from the freezing rain.
An additional .1 to .25 inches of rain is possible overnight Friday as well as temperatures continue rising from the freezing point around midnight into the upper 30s by daybreak Saturday, forecasters said.
Up to one-quarter inch is again possible with a high near 40 degrees.
The precipitation could further deplete the region’s snow pack and enhance potential for flooding.
“Significantly warming temperatures and associated snowmelt, coupled with the possibility of periods of moderate to heavy rain, will create an elevated potential for localized flooding during this period,” the weather service said.
Chances for rain diminish overnight but precipitation could turn over to snow after 7 p.m. as lows dip into the middle 20s behind a cold front.
“This cold front will be the onset of an Arctic airmass,” the weather service said. “A piece of the polar vortex will be slipping south of Hudson Bay during this period.”
Winds will become west-northwest behind the front, setting the stage for lake-effect snow east and southeast of Lake Erie and Ontario.
Dreaming of a #WhiteChristmas? pic.twitter.com/xjB8x25vWz
— Mike Bettes (@mikebettes) December 19, 2017
Forecasters call for mostly cloudy conditions with a 30 percent chance for snow showers and a high of 30 degrees.
Chances for snow increase later Christmas Eve in the metro Buffalo area.
The turn toward colder conditions becomes sharp with overnight lows in the upper teens.
Don Paul: We might get a White Christmas after all
Find your warmth by the living room fire. Because baby, it’ll be cold outside.
“While confidence is high in a return to a much colder and snowier pattern for the region starting about Christmas Day and lingering at least into mid next week, there remains plenty of uncertainty in the day-to-day details,” the weather service said.
Models differ on how the weather will develop. But, some suggest there could be a “significant lake-effect snow event” in the offing.
“Current model evolution and pattern recognition suggest…the potential for high snowfall rates,” the weather service said.
At this point, forecasters are pegging snow at 50/50.
If there’s more than 0.3 inches, it’ll be the most Christmas Day snow in Buffalo since 2003.
It’ll be cold as highs won’t escape the mid 20s.
In some spots just west of the region, it’ll be colder than that…a lot colder.
Christmas morning present = #PolarVortex Arctic blast for the center of North America. pic.twitter.com/MDiXoknI6U
— Ryan Maue | weather.us (@RyanMaue) December 19, 2017
With a windy day expected, temperatures will feel a lot colder than that, the weather service said.
Overnight, the temperature drops to near 11 degrees. It’ll stay breezy, which could force the wind chills to zero or below.
Daytime highs on Tuesday and Wednesday are expected to get out of the teens with overnight lows in the single digits.
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