After the last few days, Western New York will get a break from the snow and wind the first part of this week, which will be a welcomed change for residents.

Christmas is this Sunday and as we know, many people have travel plans between now and Saturday. Unfortunately, Mother Nature has some curveballs for Buffalo, Western New York and much of the Great Lakes and Plains this upcoming weekend.

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A major impact winter storm is heading for Western New York this week.

The event starts on Thursday with snow, mixed rain/snow, and then just plain rain by Thursday afternoon. However, the winds will be vicious, reaching gusts of 60 mph according to Mike Cejka of WIVB Weather.

Friday will switch back to snow and it could be heavy snow. You couple that with the intense winds, and there could be blizzard conditions that will make travel difficult to impossible on Friday.

Saturday and Sunday will feature moving lake effect snow bands, which will cause difficult travel conditions as well. It's too early to tell where exactly these bands set up but it appears everyone will see some snow on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

It's too early to pinpoint snow totals, but the early models from AccuWeather say anywhere from 1-3 feet of snow for Christmas weekend in Western New York. That's from Thursday to Monday.

If you have stuff to do for the holiday, get it done by Thursday. Travel will be extremely difficult, especially on Friday, which looks to be the worst day. Friday afternoon and evening looks to be the absolute worst of the storm.

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