As much as an additional foot of snow is expected across Western New York between late tonight and Wednesday evening in a massive winter storm system that will affect areas from Kansas to Maine, according to the National Weather Service.
The National Weather Service upgraded its winter-storm “watch” to a more imminent “warning” for all of Western New York.
Its latest afternoon update called for heavy snow to accumulate up to three inches overnight with 4 to 7 inches more Wednesday and maybe another inch Wednesday night.
“It’s going to be relatively uniform across the area,” meteorologist Kirk Apffel said.
Higher amounts were forecast for areas south and east of the Thruway, the warning report stated.
Visibility is expected to be less than half a mile at times, with the forecast also calling for sustained winds of 10 to 20 mph and gusts of 25 mph.
“Accumulating snow will result in difficult travel with snow-covered roads and poor visibility,” the weather service stated. “The greatest snowfall rates and worst travel conditions are expected Wednesday morning.”
The blast of mostly synoptic – not lake-effect – snow will be moving from south to north. So the winter-storm warning, which takes effect throughout the region at 10 p.m. tonight, is set to expire at 4 p.m. Wednesday in the southern half of the area and 10 p.m. Wednesday in the northern half.
The greatest snowfall and worst travel conditions are expected to hit late tonight and Wednesday morning in the southern part of Western New York, while farther north the brunt of the storm will be felt Wednesday morning.
Temperatures are expected to be in the low 20s before dropping back into the single-digits Wednesday evening. The forecast highs Thursday and Friday will remain in the teens. Wind chill values could drop below zero Thursday night with winds up to 20 mph and air temperatures in the single digits.
This latest winter storm, dubbed “Nika,” has already affected Midwest states today. A dividing line between snowfall to the north and heavy rain to the south was also setting up the possibility for serious, damaging ice accumulations in between.
The tri-state area where the borders of Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky meet, including the Cincinnati metro area, is in the path of the ice, according to forecasts. Heavy ice accumulations of up to a half inch – along with up to four inches of snow and sleet – was forecast.
Airports have already been affected, including Buffalo Niagara International Airport. Several delays or cancellations were listed among this evening’s arrivals and departures.
To check a flight’s status, check buffaloairport.com.