Lake effect snow is falling this morning in the Buffalo metro area and the Northtowns, and accumulations are expected to total up to a foot when all is said and done, according to National Weather Service reports.
This heavy lake effect snow migrated from the Southern Tier up through the Southtowns Friday and into the metro area just after midnight and dropped several inches of snow along the way. It is causing difficult travel with very poor visibility and deep snow cover on roads in the affected areas, according to weather service reports.
“We’re still looking for to possibly 6-12 inches across Niagara County,” said Jeff Wood, meteorologist at the weather service. “The main areas will be from across Grand Island along the Niagara County line and throughout Niagara County.”
As of late this morning, radar indicated a well-established band of heavy lake-effect snow extending along the shoreline of southern Ontario from Long Point, Ont. through eastern Niagara County. Snowfall in the heaviest areas was falling at a rate of a couple inches per hour.
Wood said the heaviest snows should be “tapering off in Erie County in the mid to late afternoon hours today” while continuing in Niagara County into the late evening hours. As lake effect snow bands go, the heaviest snows are driven by wind direction, he said. In this case, the southwesterly winds are directing the snow bands north of the metro area.
In Buffalo, 35 to 40 plows are on the roads, according to City Hall spokesman Michael DeGeorge. Some truck crews are working 12-hour shifts, he said, as pre-salting of streets began late last night before snow arrived.
Mains and secondary’s have been hit, DeGeorge said and, plowing on started on side streets began about 7 a.m.
At the Buffalo-Niagara International Airport, the National Weather Service reported 8.0 inches of snow had fallen between midnight and just after 9 a.m. today.
Other storm totals received throughout the Buffalo-Niagara region included 10 inches in Glenwood/Colden with 9.5 inches reported near Williamsville and in Depew as of this morning.
There was 7.5 inches reported in North Buffalo as well as 5.5 inches near Akron, 4.5 around Kenmore and 4 inches near Boston and West Seneca, according to weather service reports.
As of 7:30 a.m., Pendleton had received only 1.9 inches, but that amount was expected to rise dramatically as the day wears on.
Contrasting those figures with areas in the normally hard-hit Southern Tier shows that the northern metro suburbs are bearing the brunt of this storm.
In Ripley, for instance, only 1.9 inches of snow had fallen over the last 24 hours. Other totals from the Southern Tier included: Rushford, 6.2 inches; Franklinville, 4 inches; Olean, 2.5 inches; and Randolph, 2 inches.
The lake effect snow warning for northern Erie and Niagara counties will remain in effect until 10 p.m. tonight.
Temperatures are expected to range from a high of 24 to a low of 16 degrees and winds will range between 2 and 12 miles per hour from the west-southwest.
Western Orleans County is also expected to be impacted by the heavy snowfall today. Wood added that an additional one inch or so of light snow is forecasted to fall today in the Southtowns as part of another weather system moving through the area.
Local police agencies reported no significant weather-related events overnight, however, authorities in Amherst said early today that the number of “standard slow-car accidents” were starting to pick up as the snow picked up in intensity there.