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Significant Lake Effect Snow event possible late next week

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Posted at 11:51 AM, Dec 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-04 22:45:58-05

May not be a bad idea to fine tune the snowblowers this weekend. Significant Lake Effect Snow event is possible late next week.

However, before you run out to the store and buy milk and bread, let me say this: there are more questions than answers right now.

This far out, models have a tough time resolving the little nuances, kinks, bells and whistles etc.... in the flow aloft that influence what we walk out to. Models are ideas and not an exact representation of what is going to play out, especially a week(s) out in advance.

And before we talk about next weekend, lets get through this weekend and Monday, as a system from the west is poised to bring Western New York some snow that could stick to the ground.

Snow showers late Sunday and early Monday

The bulk of the snow showers will arrive late Sunday night, and will be out of here by the time you're in the car driving to work Monday morning. However, that doesn't mean there won't be slick spots out on the roads.

As for accumulation, expect 1-2" of snow in the Southern Tier. Can't rule out a coating of snow for the Southtowns, Metro area and Northtowns. The immediate areas near the shores of Lake Erie will see the least snow out of everyone. Would expect little to no accumulation from downtown to the shorelines of Westfield.

It doesn't sound like much. However, a coating on the road can be more dangerous traveling on than half a foot. After all, snow is ice. 

Ok, now let's get to the fun stuff!

Here's what we know about late next week:

- Cold air will sweep into Western New York late next week. This is the one element models have been very confident in for some time.

How cold, you ask? 20s. The last time we saw highs in the 20s was April 4th. So yeah, it's been a while.

- Cold air crossing Lake Erie and Ontario will fire up the Lake Effect Snow Machines. 

Here's what we don't know about late next week:

- Who gets snow? It all depends on the path and position of the low pressure system(s) that will help usher in cold air into the region late week. The direction of where the wind blows will determine who gets Lake Effect Snow and who doesn't.

Southwest winds favor metro area and Southtowns. A wind out of the northwest would place ski country in the path of Lake Effect Snow as well as our Genesee and Orleans County. We could also see bands of Lake Effect snow stream off of Huron, which global models cannot resolve.

As of now, all three global models (GFS, ECMWF and Canadian GEM) disagree on location of Lake Effect Band of snow. However, new runs of all three global models show that winds will be out of the west and northwest for a majority of the event. This favors Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and extreme Southern Erie County as well as Genesee and Orleans County.

However, there are also hints to bands of Lake Effect streaming off of Huron and into Western New York.  

- How much snow? Might as well throw a dart at a board. There's not enough data at this point to place numbers on a map that would be an accurate representation of what will happen. We'll have a better idea early next week.

- How much moisture will wrap around the low? One of the key ingredients for lake effect is moisture. As of now, there are some questions as to how much moisture there will be available in the low levels this weekend. To much dry air will limit the amount of snowfall.

Stick with the 7 First Alert weather team as we continue to keep you one step ahead of the storm.