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Winter weather advisory issued for tonight

Western WeatherYing Lu, left, and Tianming Zhong shield their faces from the wind and snow while walking along 1200 E near the Utah State University campus Tuesday afternoon. A storm system moving across the west could bring snow to the Southern Tier late Friday. (AP Photo/Herald Journal, Jennifer Meyers)

6:41 p.m. update: Western New York residents, particularly those south of Buffalo, can expect freezing rain when they wake up Thanksgiving morning.

The National Weather Service has issued a winter weather advisory for Wyoming, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Allegany and southern Erie counties.

The forecast is for a soaking rain Thanksgiving afternoon and evening. Rain early Friday could turn to snow by evening in areas south of Buffalo, the Weather Service said.

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A storm system moving across the midwest could bring heavy winds and Lake Effect snow to southern Erie, Chautauqua and Wyoming counties Friday night, the National Weather Service has forecast.

Meteorologists are watching a deep low pressure system now centered over Colorado and western Kansas that will bring cold air across the relatively warm waters of Lake Erie.

Dave Sage, a National Weather Service meteorologist, said the weather agency currently expects the "potential for significant accumulations" in areas well south of Buffalo, but that could change depending on the direction of the wind.

"We can't totally exclude Buffalo yet, so we'll have to keep a close eye on that," Sage said. "But there's certainly a potential for not only the Lake Effect snow going on, but also some pretty gusty winds, which would make travel pretty difficult."

The storm could bring wind gusts of up to 40 mph and sustained winds of 30 mph on Friday.

"The location is a little bit uncertain at this time, depending on the exact wind direction that we're going to have off the lake," Sage said. "Right now, it would probably favor the Southtowns and southward."

The National Weather Service has issued a hazardous weather outlook for the potential of a storm Friday and will continue to update its predictions.

The weather service has forecast soaking rain Thanksgiving afternoon and evening, with the potential for some sleet or freezing rain in sheltered valleys Thursday morning.

Rain early Friday could turn to snow in the evenings in areas south of Buffalo.

"Friday evening and overnight Friday would be the biggest potential for significant accumulations," Sage said.

--Denise Jewell Gee

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