A brief but nasty shot of heavy snow blown by gusty winds early today turned the morning commute into a headache, forcing several school districts to close and many more to delay their opening by two hours.
While that crisis was expected to end by mid-morning, Western New York is bracing for another challenge in this difficult winter, with dangerous wind-chill factors forecast for Tuesday morning.
A winter weather advisory was scheduled to expire at 9 a.m. today, but the National Weather Service has issued a wind-chill warning for 3 a.m. to 11 a.m. Tuesday throughout the region.
“Overnight tonight we’re looking at temperatures dropping to about 4 degrees at midnight here in Buffalo, bottoming out to about negative 3 degrees by 6 a.m.,” meteorologist Dan Kelly said.
Combined with sustained winds of 15 to 20 mph and gusts up to 35 mph, the wind-chill temperature is expected to dip to between 25 and 30 degrees below zero.
That means that people should be sure to wear hats, gloves, scarves, ski masks – anything to reduce exposing any skin to the elements.
The National Weather Service warned that anyone outside without proper clothing for even a short period of time Tuesday morning will run the risk of hypothermia and frostbite.
The weather service office in Cheektowaga recorded 3.9 inches of snow for the 24-hour period ending at 8 a.m. today, but 3.7 inches of that total fell since 1 a.m. Other 24-hour snow totals included 7 inches in northern Amherst, 6.5 in Perrysburg, 5.4 in Lockport and 5.2 in Kenmore.
Winds gusted to nearly 40 miles per hour, whipping around the new snow and making driving difficult for early-morning commuters. Police officials reported that many cars were off the road due to the slippery conditions.
The rough weather is expected to be short-lived, however, with snow ending and winds dying down by about 9 a.m., when the advisory was set to expire.
But now we’ll have to deal with the frigid temperatures, plummeting toward the single digits by late tonight.
Tuesday and Wednesday will not get out of the single digits, but forecasters say the wintry mix will not match the blizzard conditions of earlier this month.