We're officially in 2022 and usually, January means cold weather and snowfall, especially here in Western New York.

After a rather mild December for Buffalo, we get back to reality when it comes to the winter weather, and the first big storm of the winter season is coming soon for Buffalo and Western New York.

The National Weather Service just issued a Winter Storm Watch for Erie, Genesee and Wyoming counties from Wednesday evening through Tuesday evening. This includes the City of Buffalo and the northtowns.

How much snow could we get? Well, it could be a lot but exact totals are not yet known since it's Monday.

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Snowfall totals of at least 9 inches are possible, but it could be more, depending on the path and trend of the lake effect snow band that will hit Western New York.

Wednesday will start off mild -- around 40 degrees, but the cold front moves through that will drop temperatures and since Lake Erie is completely unfrozen, that means the lake effect snow machine will be geared up.

The winds will be a problem as well, with gusts up to 40 mph possible. That, along with the heavy snow, will make driving extremely difficult. Travel could be impossible at times due to very low visibility.

It appears as if Niagara County will be spared as the lake effect band looks to focus on the southtowns and the City of Buffalo, but the exact path of the band is not yet known.

The fact a Winter Storm Watch was issued more than two days out is usually bad news, and likely means this gets bumped up to a Winter Storm or Lake Effect Snow warning in the near future.

It's best to make preparations now and maybe working from home if possible on Thursday.

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