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Yes, it’s a blizzard.

The blustery winds gusting more than 35 mph – a few clocked in at 50 mph – combined with the snow and blowing snow whitening the region for several hours this afternoon mark the defining components of a bonafide blizzard, said National Weather Service meteorologist Dave Zaff.

Erie, Genesee and Wyoming counties are under blizzard warnings this evening.

The blizzard conditions are expected to continue “on and off throughout the night,” Zaff said just before 6 p.m.

But, Zaff said, “this is just the beginning.”

Forecaster expect the snow to really start hammering the area at about midnight and continue throughout Tuesday, with more blizzard warnings to follow.

A well-defined lake-effect snow band is expected to bring a highly variable amount of snow Tuesday, with the Northtowns at the northern edge and Southtowns in the middle, Zaff said.

Expect “near impossible driving conditions overnight with blinding snow conditions during the day Tuesday, Zaff said.

Then, of course, there’s the extreme cold with wind chills at minus 25. Parts of the Southern Tier may see wind chills of 40 below zero.

email: mbecker@buffnews.com