Fox News Weather Center

Lake-effect snow squalls to accompany blast of arctic air

A blast of arctic air will help send snow showers and squalls downwind of the Great Lakes at the end of the weekend and into the first full week of 2016.

"A northerly flow of wind will set up over the Great Lakes heading into the start of the new week and will trigger lake-effect snow," said AccuWeather Meteorologist Becky Elliott.

The northerly flow will follow an arctic front that is set to bring the coldest air so far this season across the Great Lakes Sunday and into the Northeast Monday. The combination of the warmer Great Lakes and the very cold air aloft will set the stage for intense lake-effect snow bands to develop.

Snow showers will increase throughout the day Sunday around the northern Great Lakes and eventually the southern portion of the Great Lakes late Sunday. The lake-effect snow won't fully end until Monday night.

Motorists traveling during this time should be ready for conditions to abruptly change if they encounter one of these snow bands. Lake-effect snow squalls can lower visibility to dangerous levels within seconds and can lead to deadly multi-vehicle accidents on interstates.

Visibility on Interstates 75, 79, 80, 90, 94 can drop below a half mile at times Sunday through Monday.

Several areas will be more favorable than others for snow accumulation over the next couple of days due to the orientation of the snow bands.

"The Upper Peninsula of Michigan will receive as much as a foot with the western side of the Lower Peninsula receiving half a foot or more," said Elliott.

Local roadways will become snow-packed and hard to navigate and road maintenance crews may not be able to keep up with the heavy snowfall rates. In the heaviest stationary bands, 2 to 3 inches per hour will be possible.

"A snow band looks to set up from Lake Huron down to Lake Erie, which would bring localized heavy snowfall to northeastern Ohio and far northwestern Pennsylvania," alerted Elliott.

Lake-effect snow bands can sometimes utilize more than one lake to acquire moisture. These snow bands can be more intense than snow bands that stream off of one lake.

A few cities that will see snow showers include Erie, Penn.; Pittsburgh, Penn.; Buffalo, N.Y.; Syracuse, N.Y.; Grand Rapids, Mich.; and Chicago, Ill.

The wind is expected to shift more from the northeast Monday which will favor lake-effect snow showers in Chicago.

Snow showers will stream as far east as the Appalachians and as far south as Kentucky while a few flurries could make it even farther.

This round of lake-effect snow will follow and add to the recent round of snow from the end of the week. Areas downwind of Lake Erie and Ontario received around foot of snow Thursday and Friday. Elma, N.Y. received 12 inches of snow while Constableville, N.Y. saw 11.5 inches, according to spotter reports.

Many observation stations around the Great Lakes are running below normal for snowfall so far this season, largely in part due to El-Nino. The recent warmth and storm path has led to fewer favorable lake-effect snow events.

High pressure will build in from the west Monday night into Tuesday and will put an end to the lake-effect snow. Dry weather is expected to last through the middle of the week.