News Column

Winter Storm Could Snarl Thanksgiving Traffic

November 25, 2013

T.J. Pignataro, The Buffalo News

Nov. 25--One of the busiest travel days of the year -- Thanksgiving eve on Wednesday -- looks like it could also be a dicey weather day for Western New York and the Eastern Seaboard as an impending winter storm develops today over the Gulf of Mexico.

The National Weather Service has issued a winter weather watch from the panhandle of West Virginia through northern Vermont, including all of Western New York, much of the Finger Lakes and the state's North Country for Tuesday evening through Wednesday evening.

It remained unclear this morning which areas would get the most snow -- possibly mixed with sleet and freezing rain.

Someone will, the National Weather Service meteorologists say.

"It will track up the East Coast. After that we'll have to see where the exact track goes," said Aaron Reynolds, weather service meteorologist. "There's a potential for 6 inches or more in those areas, depending on where the track is. If it tracks further west, it will affect areas to the west. If it tracks further east, that will push snow further to our east."

Forecasters characterize it as a "synoptic" snow event, meaning it occurs when the winds associated with the snowfall do not pass over the Great Lakes. So lake effect snow is not expected.

As for the Eastern Seaboard itself, like Philadelphia, New York and Boston, forecasters predict rain because the areas are expected to be on the warmer side of the storm. Temperatures in New York City on Wednesday are expected reach close to 60 degrees before dropping abruptly later in the day.

The weather service cautioned that early holiday travel would be disrupted by the storm.

"There remains some uncertainty with respect to the track of the low and precipitation amount and type," according to the winter weather statement. "Just a small change in the track of the low could greatly reduce expected accumulations" in Western New York.

Reynolds said forecasters will have a better handle on the exact location of the storm's track by tonight or early Tuesday.

Either way, the area's snowfall total for the season will likely increase during the next couple of days. With a half-inch of snowfall overnight, the total for the month -- and season -- at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport stands at 1.2 inches.

Snow showers are expected overnight after 1 a.m. with less than an inch expected in the metro area. Snow showers are also in the forecast for late Tuesday afternoon with additional accumulation of up to an inch possible, according to the forecast.

High temperatures this week will not get out of the 30s. The high for Thanksgiving Day, as of today, is expected to be 27 degrees.



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Original headline: Winter weather could interfere with busy travel day on Wednesday

Source: (c)2013 The Buffalo News (Buffalo, N.Y.)

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