The warm air wafting over the melting snow in the Buffalo Niagara region was causing widespread fog this afternoon.
“This is very typical when you get rain and warmer air going over a snow pack,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Jon Hitchcock. “It’s creating a cloud on the ground.”
The warm is expected to continue through the weekend, getting as high as about 50 Sunday, at least around the Pennsylvania border.
Rain is accompanying that warm air mass, which will make for a very wet weekend – and possibly an icy one.
A flood watch has been issued by the Weather Service for Saturday afternoon through Sunday evening.
“We could pick up one to two inches of rain,” warned another meteorologist Tom Paone. “The rain itself – that alone is going to cause problems.”
But combined with the warming temperatures melting away the heavy snow packs from the past week of lake-effect snow that blanketed the region, forecasters say there’s a strong possibility that area rivers and creeks could crest.
The heaviest rains are expected Saturday night into Sunday morning.
Forecasters also are keeping a watchful eye on the temperature as that rain approaches.
While warm air will envelope the lower half our region, a cold front may be bringing freezing, or near freezing temperatures to the northern half, Hitchcock said.
“We’re going to be right near that threshold of 32 degrees,” he said. If it gets below the freezing mark, the rain could turn to freezing rain that could bring a half inch of accumulating ice to areas near Lake Ontario.
The weather service has in place a winter storm watch for Saturday and Sunday for that possibility, but Hitchcock said it is unclear whether freezing rain would transpire.