BUFFALO – The National Weather Service has issued a Lake Effect Snow warning for the region, which began 6 a.m. Thursday and continues until 6 a.m. Saturday.
According to the warning, the locations that will be impacted include Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Wyoming, and Southern Erie Counties, with the greatest amount of snow expected to fall across the higher terrain of the Chautauqua Ridge.
Forecasts show that accumulations of 4 to 6 inches are expected for Thursday during the day with another 6 to 12 inches possible for Thursday night into Friday morning. For Friday, another 4 to 8 inches could fall during the day and 3 to 5 inches could also fall Friday night into Saturday morning. The total snow accumulations for the 48-hour period could be as much as 2 feet, if not more, in the most persistent lake snow areas.
Motorist should realize that heavy lake effect snow and areas of blowing snow will lead to significant accumulations of snow on area roadways and very poor visibility at times, resulting in hazardous to nearly impossible travel conditions within the most intense portion of the snow bands.
Motorists who must travel are advised to be prepared for severe winter driving conditions with near zero visibility and deep snow cover on the roads. This includes the New York State Thruway between the Pennsylvania State Line and Hamburg, along with the western-most portion of I-86.
Also motorists need to remember that with lake effect snow, the weather can vary from locally heavy snow in narrow bands to clear skies just a few miles away. If you will be traveling across the region, be prepared for rapid changes in road and visibility conditions. Motorists should also carry an emergency kit in their vehicle in the event they get stuck or stranded.