To date, only 6.5 inches of snow have been recorded at Buffalo Niagara International Airport. But the National Weather Service predicts that total will likely double in the next 24 hours.
"We're watching a storm that's bringing snow from Texas all the way up through Maine. We're watching snowfall cross the Ohio Valley with snowfall rates of 1-2 inches per hour," said meteorologist David Thomas.
Thomas says heavy snow will begin falling in Buffalo late Wednesday afternoon. The system will be joined by strong winds that could reduce visibility to less than 1/4 mile, causing localized whiteout conditions.
"That's going to make for a particularly dangerous situation," Thomas said.
The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning starting at 4 p.m. One to two inches are expected this afternoon in the northern counties, with 3 to 6 inches possible in the Southern Tier.
Snow may be heavy at times Wednesday night, with 5 to 10 inches in the forecast.
Though the warning continues through 1 p.m. Thursday, snowfall is expected to diminish by the middle of Thursday morning. One to two inches in additional accumulation are possible Thursday.
Extra road salt has been delivered to the City of Buffalo's Broadway Barn. Public Works Commissioner Steve Stepniak points out the storm is bringing the first significant snowfall of the year.
"We've been preparing for this for three days," said Stepniak late Wednesday morning. "We've been getting all the equipment ready and running. The men and women of the streets department are now on 12-hour shifts. We will continue those 12-hour shifts as long as possible and we will add workforce [as] needed."
To help plow crews clear streets faster, Stepniak reminds drivers to follow parking restrictions. Given the severity of storm, he suggests staying home if traveling is not necessary.