Heavy lake-effect snow to bring perilous travel conditions across Great Lakes
By Faith Eherts, AccuWeather meteorologist
December 05, 2017, 11:52:09 AM EST
With cold, blustery weather sweeping into the northeastern United States this week, heavy lake-effect snow will lead to treacherous travel around the Great Lakes.
Arctic air will continue to plunge from the Midwest into the East through midweek with temperatures being slashed by 20-30 degrees Fahrenheit when compared to earlier this week.
Gusty winds will further add to the shock value around the Great Lakes by creating dramatically lower AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures.
As these cold winds also blow over the relatively milder Great Lakes, lake-effect snow will develop and create treacherous travel downwind of the lakes into later this week.
“Bands of heavy snow will develop across northern Michigan into Tuesday night,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Steve Travis said. “Then on Wednesday, lake-effect snow and squalls will form off Lake Erie, near Buffalo, New York, and off Lake Ontario near Watertown, New York.”
Travis expects the snow to continue streaming downwind of the lakes through Thursday night.
“Snowfall rates of 1-2 inches per hour can lead to treacherous travel conditions with snow on roads and low visibility,” he said.
Anyone traveling on interstates 75, 81 and 90 during this time should drive with extreme caution and take heed of any weather warnings.
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Airline passengers, including those with destinations or departures from Buffalo Niagara International Airport, should prepare for flight delays and cancellations.
Even local travel by foot will become perilous as roads and sidewalks turn slippery in the wet and subfreezing conditions.
“The snow bands will shift around throughout Thursday night, so much of western and northern New York will pick up at least 6 inches of snow,” Travis said. “The most persistent bands will drop 1-2 feet on some areas.”
Localized amounts in excess of 2 feet cannot be ruled out.
Accumulated snow is expected to be blown around in any squalls, causing disruptive snow drifts to pile up and further causing local whiteouts.
This lake-effect snow event will gradually diminish from west to east later this week; however, snow showers and squalls may lead to more travel disruptions in many of the same communities less than 24 hours later as a new storm drops into the Midwest.
An end to this cold, wintry spell of weather for the Great Lakes is not expected in the near future.
“The cold air will support several chances for snow in the Midwest, Ohio Valley and Northeast over the next few weeks,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Max Vido said. “While this can provide some seasonal cheer, it may also cause travel disruptions before the holidays.”
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