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Exciting times the next few days for Upstate New York. Should be some really strong LES along with some of the coldest air in years. This should be Lake Eries last hurrah on the lake effect front as it will likely be frozen by the end of the week. 




 Lake Erie
  Heavy lake effect snow expected. Dangerously cold wind
  chills possible. Total snow accumulations of 1 to 2 feet
  expected in the most persistent lake snows. Winds gusting as
  high as 45 mph later Wednesday through Thursday, which may
  produce near blizzard conditions with severe blowing and
  drifting snow. Wind chills as low as 30 below zero possible.

Lake Ontario

* WHAT...Heavy snow expected tonight through Tuesday night.
  Heavy lake effect snow expected Wednesday through Friday
  morning. Snow accumulations of 7 to 14 inches possible tonight
  through Tuesday night, with the greatest amounts on the Tug
  Hill Plateau. Snow accumulations of 2 to 3 feet expected
  Wednesday through Friday morning, with the greatest amounts on
  the Tug Hill Plateau. Winds could gust as high as 45 mph later
  Wednesday through Thursday, which may produce near blizzard
  conditions with severe blowing and drifting snow. Wind chills
  as low as 25 below zero possible.


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...Severe winter conditons expected during this period...

During this period the wintry pattern will pose three main concerns:
lake effect snow, blowing snow, and dangerously cold wind chills.
Lake effect snow will develop northeast of the lakes Tuesday night,
with significant accumulation possible in the Buffalo metro area. An
arctic front will then pass early Wednesday, which will usher in
bitterly cold air into the entire region which will remain through
the end of the week. Lake snows will expand in area, and generally
focus east and/or northeast of the lakes. There will also be gusty
winds Wednesday through Thursday, which will result in areas of
blowing and drifting snow. Near blizzard conditions are possible at
times. For the details...

Model guidance is in good agreement concerning the general pattern,
but differs on the specifics. For example, there is no doubt that
there will be some lake effect snows, and that it will be windy and
cold through the period. The wind direction will determine where
lake effect bands set up, and there are still minor differences
among the model guidance. The most noteworthy is the 06Z/12Z NAM
develops a wave along the arctic front late Tuesday night. This
would shift winds to the SSW and push the Lake Erie band into
Niagara County while most other guidance does not have this wave and
keeps winds southwesterly. After this, a general WSW flow will
persist Wednesday afternoon through Thursday before gradually
weakening Thursday night into Friday. 850mb temperatures will
plummet behind an arctic frontal passage on Wednesday, and will
remain in the -25C to -30C range for most of the period. Meanwhile,
a mid-level trough and a connection to upstream lakes will provide
ample moisture for persistent lake snows during the period. One
complicating factor is that Lake Erie may start to freeze up during
the event. Even so, there should be ample breaks to support lake
effect snow, especially considering that wave action will hinder ice

Off Lake Erie (including the Buffalo metro area)...

Lake effect snow will develop focused near Buffalo Tuesday night and
will meander north late Tuesday night before dropping southward
early Wednesday. After this, the band will remain somewhere between
the southtowns (West Seneca/Orchard Park and the Boston/Wyoming
hills Wednesday afternoon through Thursday. Lake snows will also
extend well inland into Genesee and Wyoming counties due to the
strong winds. There is still some uncertainty in snow amounts, but
in general expect 12-18 inches across the snow belts, around a foot
in downtown Buffalo, and 6-12 inches across the northtowns. Locally
higher amounts are certainly possible if the band remains in one
location for a long time. Snowfall rates will average 1-2 inches per
hour, but cold temperatures will support snow which is very
effective in lowering visibility. Amounts will be less (but
potentially significant) along the Chautauqua ridge extending into
Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties, however the WSW flow will keep
the heavy snow north of Jamestown, Olean, and Wellsville where there
will be much less accumulation. This said, the greater impact which
will be felt regardless of snow amount is the strong winds and
blowing snow. Winds will be modest Tuesday night, but then increase
Wednesday through Thursday, with gusts up to 40 mph. A weak ridge
will build into western New York on Friday with diminishing winds
bringing an end to the lake effect snow.

Off Lake Ontario (including the Watertown area)...

Synoptic snows will transition to lake effect on Tuesday night.
Modest lake snows will initially focus across the St. Lawrence River
late Tuesday night, and then intensify and shift south across
Watertown on Wednesday. The heaviest snows will be Wednesday night
through Thursday evening when the long fetch down Lake Ontario and
orographic lift enhance snowfall rates on the Tug Hill and western
Adirondacks. Snowfall rates of 2-3 inches an hour are possible
during this time. The band will gradually weaken late Thursday night
into Friday, but still may produce some moderate additional snow
accumulation. Snowfall amounts from lake effect are expected to be 2-
3 feet on the Tug Hill. Watertown is a tricky forecast since it`s on
the northern fringe of the band, but right now it looks like 1-2
feet. Amounts will drop off considerably southward through Oswego
County. This said, there will be a significant impact from strong
winds and blowing snow. Winds will gust up to 40 mph Wednesday
through Thursday evening, and then diminish late Thursday night into
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1 minute ago, WxWatcher007 said:

I know LES is a tough business. I couldn’t live long if every season areas just a few miles away got smoked while I watched flurries.

We usually don’t have this problem with coastals. We fail on the dreaded rain/snow line. Or a total whiff. 

Good luck...but not too much lol

Hey, props to you for making the trek to Watertown to chase this event!  Just curious, have you chased lake effect events before?  This one could be pretty high on the danger side with the combination of heavy snow, strong winds, and frigid temps...

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I got a taste of that just last weekend when I was on the southern Tug. The belt stopped moving south about 20 miles north of me and just waffled there. It was a bit maddening. I watched the radar for any sign of drift in my favorable direction but it just did what it wanted (NWS forecast be damned!)

Good luck all. I hope it plasters you! Still think BUF and The Tug get slammed. 


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10 minutes ago, BuffaloWeather said:

They have 15-20" according to that map which is about right I think. I don't think had any on the ground before that event. It was also pretty high ratio stuff. 

True enough. Although, I thought they did have a snow pack. It is easy to forget how quickly the snow disappears in lower elevations compared to up here. Much better staying power here.

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Pretty impressive and fast temperature rise here.  I was at 16 deg around 3 PM, up to 32 now.  Dunkirk up to 35 with a strong south wind.  And quite the temp gradient across upstate right now with the north country at or below 0.  

WATERTOWN      CLOUDY     3  -6  66 NE14      29.89F WCI -15
OGDENSBURG     CLOUDY     0 -17  46 NE7G15    29.98F WCI -13
MASSENA        CLOUDY     1 -13  51 E15G23    30.06F WCI -18
SARANAC LAKE   FAIR      -4 -12  68 NE8       29.88F WCI -19
PLATTSBURGH    CLOUDY     0 -14  51 NW5       30.12F WCI -10


NIAGARA FALLS  CLOUDY    23  14  68 E6        29.66F WCI  16
BUFFALO        CLOUDY    31  17  56 CALM      29.66S
DUNKIRK        CLOUDY    35  19  52 S18G40    29.63F WCI  24
JAMESTOWN      CLOUDY    27  13  55 S14G20    29.66F WCI  16
WELLSVILLE     CLOUDY    22   8  55 S9G17     29.73F WCI  12
ROCHESTER      CLOUDY    23  11  60 SE8       29.76F WCI  14
PENN YAN       CLOUDY    26   9  48 S10       29.80F WCI  16
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I think Pittsburgh winters have gotta suck. They can have cold air, and then any time a low pressure cuts across, warm air is easily sucked up right along the western spine of the mountains.

I had family that lived there and they said it was more ice and rain than anything. A little bit of snow, a ton of rain, and then a little bit of snow at the end of each storm with everything freezing to ice. It also a very hilly city, so roads can be a disaster.

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5 minutes ago, WxWatcher007 said:

I chased in Dunkirk in late 2017 but it wasn’t a big event. My process for all my wx chases are the same: I like to do my research, pick my spot, and setup before an event starts. I’m pretty stationary during it (I prefer the long jebwalk) and well stocked if things get rough.

I think driving is the biggest risk so I stay away from that if I can. I’d want a lot more LES experience (and better car) before considering driving through the best of a band. Long way to go before I’m blasting through 6”/hr monster bands like @BuffaloWeather lol.

Nice, sounds like you're well prepared.  You should be in for a great show the next few days.  If/when the band drops south of Watertown onto the Tug, you might consider taking a short drive west on Rt 3 to Sackets Harbor.  Great elevated views of the lake there, you could probably get some epic pictures of the band coming off the lake.  Couple nice restaurants/breweries there too.  

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Just now, ayuud11 said:

Man i keep telling you boys don't trust those Kuchera maps, you're going to be disappointed lol

Yeah, I was doing some research for determining snowfall ratios in very cold temperatures like this storm. Those 30:1 ratios the kuchera maps show ain't gonna happen, as weatherporn as it may be lol

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This is so appropriate for this yr, lol, if something is supposed to go wrong it will!

830 PM Update...
Latest incoming model trends confirm the adjustments that were
made earlier; lowering expected snow amounts along and
especially west of I-81 while maintaining the relatively higher
amounts to the east. It has become clear that the initial round
of snow will be on the light side; as in for the majority of the
area only about an inch or less by dawn except for more like
2-3 inches north of the NY Thruway such as where topographical
lift will occur in northern Oneida County.

Wouldn't expect anything different this yr.

This is what we need big time otherwise we literally end up with 2' totals

There is some suggestion that a brief deformation band
could hang for a time around Cayuga-Cortland-Onondaga for maybe
a bonus couple late-day inches but models differ considerably.
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