Heavy lake-effect snow will generate whiteout conditions and dangerous travel across the Great Lakes into Friday.
Intense snow bands will unfold as dangerous cold blasts eastward through the remainder of the week.
“This is the type of lake-effect snow that can not only blind motorists suddenly but could also strand motorists on the highway,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said.
People should avoid travel if at all possible during the height of the event. If travel is a necessity, make sure you have an emergency preparedness kit on hand stocked with non-perishable food items, water and blankets.
The snow bands will move in unison with the cold winds over the Great Lakes.
“Between 2 and 3 feet of snow is expected in the Tug Hill Plateau in upstate New York by the end of the event,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Brett Rathbun said.
“One such band off Lake Erie could impact Buffalo, New York, during the Wednesday evening rush hour,” Rathbun said.
Snow will accumulate rapidly on roadways and sidewalks with snowfall rates up to 3 to 4 inches per hour.
“Portions of interstates 81 and 90 may be shut down for a time,” Rathbun said.
Visibility can range from clear to near zero in the span of a few miles. Motorists need to be on alert for rapidly changing weather conditions to avoid spin outs and car pileups.
The intensity of the cold air over the warm Great Lakes could allow for thunder, lightning and even an isolated waterspout in the most intense snow bands.
There will be an opportunity for some snow showers to reach part of the Interstate-95 corridor on Thursday, mainly from New York City and points northward.
The lake-effect machine will slowly wind down on Friday before a new storm moving in from the central U.S. spreads snow, ice and rain over the Northeast on Friday night into Saturday.