The trend of steady snowfall and sub-freezing temperatures have combined to accumulate a solid snowpack across the region. Warmer temperatures are expected to melt much of that snow, bringing flooding to the region this week.
The National Weather Service has issued a Flood Watch from Thursday through Friday afternoon for all of Western New York.
"On Thursday, temperatures will be warming up above freezing," said Jeff Wood of the Buffalo office of the National Weather Service.
"But we will start seeing some melting of the snowpack. At this point, it has been so cold that the ground is frozen pretty solid so that water is going to be slow to drain off."
The casual observer might believe the piles of snow are higher than normal.
The snowpack, Wood says, is "definitely higher than we've seen at this time in the past couple of years."
"The estimates are somewhere in the neighborhood of three to four inches of water within that snowpack."
Residents should be aware that the cold and snow that have characterized this winter could block nearby storm drains, adding to flooding problems in some neighborhoods.
"As we get in later to Thursday night, dew points are going to climb above freezing and winds are expected to pick up," Wood said.
"With that potential the melting will accelerate and the potential for localized flooding will be there, particularly when we see some heavier rains developing later Thursday night as a cold front moves across the area."