Warnings and watches dominate the local weather forecast, as Western New York braces for a one-two punch of freezing rain and flooded creeks over the next 24 hours or so.
The big culprit is expected to be freezing rain, which could to coat the northern half of the region with a layer of ice that could down tree limbs and trigger power outages in that area.
Temperatures are expected to drop this afternoon and evening, before remaining near the freezing mark into Sunday morning.
“Freezing rain is actually a super-cooled rain droplet,” National Weather Service meteorologist Dan Kelly said this morning. “As the rain falls toward the ground, it hits an object below freezing – a tree branch, a windshield, a road or sidewalk – and freezes on contact.”
The weather service has issued an ice-storm warning, effective from 4 p.m. today to noon Sunday, in northern Erie, Niagara, Orleans and Genesee counties.
The bulk of the freezing rain is expected to hit between 10 p.m. tonight and 3 a.m. Sunday, according to the weather service.
“It’s not going to be a good time to travel, overnight and into tomorrow,” Kelly said. “If you don’t have to go anywhere, stay home.”
And with all the rain that’s been pelting the region, Kelly noted, it’s washing all the salt off the roads.
Freezing rain, of course, also leads to icing on trees, downed tree limbs and resulting power outages.
The National Weather Service also has issued a flood warning, for Cattaraugus, Cazenovia, Buffalo and Cayuga creeks, from this evening through Monday morning. And a flood watch is in effect throughout Western New York from 4 p.m. today through 10 p.m. Sunday.