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The first significant lake-effect snow event of the season will bury parts of the northeastern United States into next week.
After the workweek ended unseasonably warm across the Northeast, temperatures will plummet up to 50 degrees Fahrenheit this weekend as some of the coldest air of the season sweeps across the region.
A cold northwesterly flow across the still-warm Great Lakes will induce snow showers downwind of the lakes and into the Appalachians, AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Elliot Abrams said.
The heaviest and most persistent snow will fall in parts of western and northern New York state to northwestern Pennsylvania. In these areas, one to two feet of snow can accumulate, with locally higher amounts.
Snowfall totals can vary greatly depending on where the lake-effect bands develop and move.
"The setup into next week will be favorable for numerous lake-effect snow bands that move, rather than a stationary band that remains over the same area," AccuWeather Meteorologist Jake Sojda said.
"This can create dangerous driving conditions as roving squalls of snow mean rapid changes over short distances," he said.
A distance of a few miles can mean the difference between a couple inches of snow and well over a foot.
Snow accumulations will be lower near the immediate lakeshore, where rain will mix with snow due to the influence of the warm lake waters.
However, motorists should be prepared for rapidly changing visibilities and roadway conditions along portions of interstates 79, 81, 86 and 90.
"Visibility can go from clear to near zero in just a matter of a couple miles, catching motorists off guard," Sojda said.
Wind gusts past 40 mph will cause areas of blowing and drifting snow and white-out conditions.
"The worst period for travel will be on Sunday night, when snow will be the heaviest and most widespread," Sojda said.
The lake-effect snow is expected to wind down on Tuesday as an area of high pressure moves into the region.
The dry spell will be short-lived as rain and snow may return to the Northeast by Thanksgiving.