Eyes look to Bills-Chiefs game as Buffalo expects a weekend snow storm


Heavy lake-effect snow is once again pummeling areas downwind of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, including Buffalo, New York, on Wednesday as arctic air flowing over the still nearly ice-free Great Lakes will continue to produce accumulations measured in feet.

Very heavy snowfall rates between 2 and 4 inches per hour are expected in the core of these snow bands, resulting in a significant event with localized storm total accumulations of 3 feet or more, the FOX Forecast Center said. 

Buffalo International Airport reported 3 inches of snow in just 34 minutes late Wednesday morning – a snowfall rate of over 5 inches per hour.

The heavy snowfall in Erie County, New York, prompted officials to declare a number of travel bans early Wednesday morning. County Executive Mark Poloncarz reported that roads in Hamburg, Orchard Park, Lancaster and other communities were closed. As a result, all county and Buffalo city offices were also closed for the day.

Footage recorded from a snowplow just outside Buffalo early Wednesday morning showed the “very difficult conditions” any driver would face, with road signs almost buried in the snow.

The snow will impact the same areas hit by the lake-effect snow last weekend. Overall, lake-effect-prone areas of New York and Pennsylvania are in for another 1-3 feet of new snow. Between the two events, some locations may see 5 feet or more of snow.

The area between Lake Ontario and Lake Erie is expected to be blasted by a weekend snow storm. FOX Weather

Heavy snow coming off Lake Erie

The lake-effect band off Lake Erie will dump several inches to feet of snow around the Buffalo area throughout the day Wednesday. The northern edge of the band probably gets as far north as far southern Niagara County, the FOX Forecast Center said.

“As the snow will be fluffy with less water content, winds gusting over 35 mph later on Wednesday will produce blowing and drifting snow with possible whiteout conditions at times,” wrote the National Weather Service office in Buffalo.

Large snow drifts will also be likely.

The northward drift to the snow band will give the Buffalo Southtowns a temporary break from the heavy snow.  

The steering winds will shift to the west into Wednesday night. This will result in the lake band shifting to the south across the Buffalo metro area and back into the Southtowns. It will finally wind down Thursday as the coast-to-coast disturbance swings through, the FOX Forecast Center said.

The areas around Lake Ontario is likely to receive 1-2 inches of snow. FOX Weather

Snow rates of 1-2 inches per hour likely off Lake Ontario

Winds out of the west-southwest should put the heart of the lake-effect snow band from Lake Ontario into the Watertown and Fort Drum areas in New York, where it will persist through the day Wednesday.

Snow rates between 1 and 2 inches per hour appear likely. The fluffy snow and winds gusting over 35 mph will create blowing and drifting snow with possible whiteout conditions at times.

On Wednesday night, the steering winds will shift to the west, resulting in the lake band shifting south of Watertown and focusing on the Tug Hill Plateau.

The most intense lake snows will likely occur Wednesday night, with snowfall rates in excess of 3 inches per hour possible. The heavy snow will continue through much of the day Thursday before ending Thursday evening.

The snow will likely be gone by the time the Bills game begins. AP

Region still buried in snow from earlier storm

For western New York residents, this week’s storm is piling on top of heavy snow from the weekend.  

Video from the town of Hamburg, New York, Office of Emergency Services on Sunday shows a car driving slowly through the snowfall with other drivers’ headlights barely visible in the distance.

Heavy snowfall covered Hoak’s Lakeshore Restaurant in Hamburg with icicles, as captured by Richard Hulburd from @weather_buffalo. Writing on X on Monday, Hulburd said the scene felt like he “walked into the movie Frozen.” 

The restaurant described the weather as a “small dose of an ice castle coating.”

Is another NFL playoff postponement possible? 

All eyes will shift to Orchard Park’s Highmark Stadium on Sunday, when the Buffalo Bills are set to take on the Kansas City Chiefs at 6:30 p.m. EST. The NFL and fans are hoping not to have a repeat of last weekend’s day-long postponement of the Wild Card game until Monday due to near-blizzard conditions.

Even on Monday, crowds had to wade through feet of snow to cheer on the home team. This happened despite the team calling out to fans to come shovel snow from the stadium for $20 per hour and free meals.

“This was the first game in the NFL history without assigned seating, but you had to clean off your own spot,” FOX Weather Meteorologist Ian Oliver said. “It was kind of everybody for themselves.”

The heaviest snow looks to stop by the time the Bills take on the Chiefs on Sunday, but light snow showers remain possible.

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