Wind may become a factor during Buffalo Bills playoff game Saturday in Orchard Park

Weather Blog

ROCHESTER, NY (WROC) — The vast majority of fans will be watching the Buffalo Bills from home, but those lucky few thousand fans will need to bundle up for a cold night with decent breezes, and maybe a few light snow showers around at the end of the game.

The current forecast hints that there will be slight ramping up of the winds later on Saturday night that may make more of an impact than any big snow or cold. It will be borderline on timing as a few snow flurries try to develop off Lake Erie that could graze the field during the last part of the game, but the real snow showers won’t get going into the second half of the weekend. Full forecast breakdown into Sunday here.

NAM 4km model hinting at snow showers in the vicinity of Orchard Park, but no significant lake effect band.

Kickoff is at 8:15 pm in Orchard Park, a few miles southeast of Buffalo. See the game breakdown here.

Friday through Saturday:

We know with confidence the large storm system currently coming down from the Pacific Northwest will stall somewhere in the Great Lakes and push a frontal boundary through Western New York Friday night into Saturday. That will likely create some rain and snow showers during this period. The storm quickly moves into the Northeast Saturday morning with rain and snow coming to a halt for the majority of the afternoon.

Saturday night:

Temperatures around game time should firmly be in the upper 20s and low 30s. The low pressure placement at this time will be somewhere over Maine. That means there will not be any significant moisture in place for area-wide snow showers, but there may be a bit of lake effect, which depends on wind direction and the amount of cold air.

The cold air in place is there, but is it cold enough? The lack of cold enough air at higher levels of the atmosphere is seemingly lacking, and without sufficient enough cold air the lake effect snow machine may provide a few snow flurries at best. Winds will not likely be favorable for any significant lake-effect snow bands to set up until the early morning and daylight hours on Sunday.

This is the Euro model output from Friday afternoon forecasting a low in northern Maine on Saturday night.

Winds are forecast to shift from the northwest to more westerly overnight, which would not support any significant lake effect in Orchard Park (The ideal direction for snow at the stadium would be southwest). Regardless, enough leftover moisture will likely support at least a few snow showers during the game with some models still up in the air on the hints of a developing lake band.


While precipitation and cold impacts all players, the wind impacts the kickers and the quarterbacks most as strong winds can drastically change the flight of the ball. Winds will ramp up based on the strength of the low and our proximity to the center. It looks like winds will be coming from the northwest at around 10-15 mph.

The storm is forecast to strengthen Saturday night and that could mean winds pick up throughout the game. Gusts will climb near 20 mph by the start of the game, which is right on the threshold of starting to have an impact on field goals, punting, and kickoffs. Josh Allen’s spiral is less likely to see any effect at this wind speed, but if gusts push closer to 30 mph, it may start to impact the passing game.

~Latest update by Meteorologist Christine Gregory

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