Is it winter or is it spring? Western New Yorkers will be asking that question today if forecasters are correct and the rain changes to sleet and freezing rain.
The National Weather Service is looking at it from both angles. Meteorologists issued a flood watch Wednesday for the entire region through Friday afternoon, warning that 2 to 3 inches of rain could fall before skies start to clear.
At the same time, they posted a freezing rain advisory for the area from 2 a.m. to 11 p.m. today, cautioning that streets and sidewalks could be icy this morning and again tonight. Heaviest accumulation is expected in Niagara and Orleans counties away from Lake Ontario, where ice could be one-third of an inch thick, bringing down tree limbs and power lines. About a tenth of an inch is likely elsewhere. The Southern Tier may escape with just cold rain.
All this rain is being produced along the boundary between warm and cold fronts that has settled across the region, forecasters say.
With temperatures stuck in the 30s all day today, frigid air advancing from north to south could be cold enough to produce icy conditions until a surge of warm, moist air arrives Friday. On-and-off showers could continue Saturday, with sunshine due to return Sunday and highs around 50.