You aren’t the only one looking to get an early start to the weekend.
The winter storm that dumped nearly a foot of snow north of Buffalo will take a break around 3 p.m. today, forecasters said, just in time for road crews to clear a path for the evening commute.
State plow crews were working furiously in Amherst and Tonawanda to clear the five inches of snow that fell late this morning and early this afternoon. Nearly a foot of snow fell in Niagara County.
If they are successful, travelers will have a relatively easy commute this evening, forecasters said, despite the possibility of icy roads in the Southtowns.
“As long as they can clear the roads for the evening commute, it shouldn’t be too bad,” said Dave Zaff, meteorologist for the National Weather Service. “The main arterials should be OK by 5 p.m.”
The snow is expected to pick up later in the evening and continue steadily, dumping between 6 inches and a foot of snow throughout the region.
The Northtowns and Niagara County should register the highest totals, Zaff said, as slushy snow started falling there earlier in the morning.
Snow in the Southtowns, metro Buffalo and Ski Country picked up around lunch time, measuring between 1 and 4 inches.
A persistent morning rain in Lackawanna, Hamburg and other Lake Erie shoreline towns did not freeze as much as expected, Zaff said, taking away some of the danger of the evening drive home.
But travelers should remain vigilant, he said, because not all roads have been salted to the same extent.
Buffalo was spared from an early morning snowstorm that dumped six inches on Niagara County, but the Queen City got its due this afternoon.
Heavy flakes fell downtown and in the suburbs, making the Northtowns difficult to maneuver as plows made their second big push to clear the roads.
Niagara County got the early brunt of the snowfall that is now sweeping across the region.
Five inches of snow fell in Niagara Falls this morning, causing minor accidents and a temporary closure of the Interstate 190 northbound.
Steady snowfall started after 7 p.m. in the Falls, pushing crews onto the streets to clear a snow that slowed traffic on the main arterials and caused an hour-long bottleneck on the North Grand Island Bridge.
That snow band drifted along the Lake Ontario shoreline, dumping heavy snow on Lewiston, Wilson and other lakefront towns.
Youngstown looked like a ghost town this afternoon, with windy snowdrifts forcing locals into coffee shops or back into their homes.
And in Amherst, roads were dicey because of a steady, slushy snow that plows are battling to clear.
On the Buffalo waterfront, the snow seemed to pick up suddenly after a mostly clear morning.
Most flights at Buffalo Niagara International Airport were running smoothly this morning and afternoon, although two dozen flights – fewer than one quarter – were cancelled coming into the airport through the evening hours.