Initial reports of a potential major winter storm blowing through by Tuesday wound up being premature, but area ski resorts are getting ready nonetheless for the start of their season.
AccuWeather on Friday cited the expected arrival of an arctic blast of air from Canada that could trigger the season’s first snowstorm in a broad area from the Great Lakes through the Appalachians to the East Coast.
Preliminary predictions called for the storm – a major Nor’easter, if it materialized – to hit the eastern Great Lakes region by Tuesday.
“At one point last week, it looked like it might be a coastal storm,” said Jon Hitchcock, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Cheektowaga, on Sunday.
Instead, the alternative – a near-miss – appears likely, as the arctic air moved out to sea instead, much faster than initially thought.
“Zero chance,” Hitchcock said. “There will be no storm. We might get just a little bit of snow here” this evening.
There will be rain this afternoon that may change to wet snow for an hour or two, but “I wouldn’t expect much accumulation,” he said. “Maybe a coating on the grass at most.”
Meanwhile, though, two of the area’s best-known ski resorts are getting ready, with tickets on sale and preparations under way at Holiday Valley in Ellicottville and Kissing Bridge in Glenwood.
Neither has started snowmaking, and only a couple of inches of snow have fallen so far this season at Holiday Valley.
But the inquiries have started.
“People are definitely wondering whether there’s any skiing and when it starts, but nothing stuck,” said Rachel Frazier, who works the front desk at the Inn at Holiday Valley.