‘Significant’ lake-effect snow forecast for Buffalo, New York

(NEW YORK) — Western New York is bracing for a “significant” lake-effect snowstorm that could dump up to 4 feet of snow in the Buffalo region over the coming days.

A lake-effect snow warning is in effect starting 7 p.m. Wednesday through 1 a.m. Saturday for southern Erie County.

The long-duration event is also expected in the east and southeast Great Lakes region, according to the National Weather Service in Buffalo.

Up to 4 feet of snow is possible for the region by Saturday morning. Winds gusting as high as 35 mph are also forecast.

“Travel could be very difficult to impossible,” the National Weather Service in Buffalo warned. “The hazardous conditions will impact the commutes from Thursday morning through Friday evening.”

Snowfall rates of 1 to 2 inches per hour are forecast for the Thursday morning commute.

Lake-effect snow is common in the late fall and early winter along the downwind shores of the Great Lakes, which is caused by cold air flowing over the warmer waters of the Great Lakes.

In November 2014, more than 5 feet of lake-effect snow fell just east of Buffalo, in what was one of the most significant winter events in the city’s history, according to the National Weather Service.

Beyond Buffalo, snow is also expected over upper New England on Wednesday, with winter weather advisories issued for the area.

Upstate New York, northern Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine are expected to see more than 3 inches of fresh snow, with more than 6 inches expected in northern Maine. More than a foot is possible along the Canadian border in Maine.

ABC News’ Kenton Gewecke contributed to this report.

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