The city of Buffalo, NY is being warned to brace for historic lake-effect snowfall starting Thursday night. The city and its outlying areas could receive three to six FEET (72 inches) of snow when it's all said and done on Sunday. Darn global warming . . . .
Lake-effect snow develops when cold, dry air, often originating from Canada, flows across the relatively warmer waters of the Great Lakes and is predicted to bring 'impossible' travel conditions.
Forecasters have warned that snow may fall at the rate of two to four inches per hour at times with thundersnow possible in the most intense bands, AccuWeather reports.
Experts have said that the upcoming event could be one of historic proportions as the weather system picks up momentum on Thursday and is predicted to continue into the weekend.
'These early-season events can be potent, as lake water temperatures are still quite mild compared to the middle to the latter part of winter,' AccuWeather Meteorologist Matt Benz said.
As of Wednesday morning, waters on the Great Lakes ranged between 52.5 degrees and 42.6 degrees.
'The heaviest snowfall is expected to occur downwind of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario in New York and Lake Huron in Ontario,' Benz said.
'Several feet of snow can occur where snow bands persist over the same location for an extended period of time.'
Buffalo is expected to be hit the hardest with a winter storm watch issued for the metro area and across southwestern New York.
The heaviest snow is predicted to fall over two periods, Thursday night into Friday and then again Saturday morning into Saturday night, Benz explained.
'These two periods will likely feature the worst conditions of this event,' he said.
'Buffalo and its southern suburbs may receive as much as 3 to 6 feet of snow by Sunday.'
Experts have warned against travelling during this time with motorists running the risk of becoming stranded on the roadways.
If travel is necessary, they have advised preparing an emergency kit in their vehicle.
This type of snow storm can and will paralyze the area for a couple days even though they are accustomed to heavy snowfall in this area.
A very real danger from this storm is roof collapse. The weight of the snow simply overwhelms old or worn roofs, weakened by leaks, or lack of good maintenance, and the roof collapses into the home, usually injuring or killing those inside, and often causing the entire home to collapse into the ground.
Some homeowners know to sweep the snow off the roof, but that, in and of itself, is extremely dangerous because homeowners can slip on the snow and fall off the roof, killing themselves. So they're maybe damned if they do, and maybe damned if they don't.