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Bills vs. Steelers: National Weather Service issues Winter Storm Watch for greater Buffalo area

Prepare thyself: it might be chilly!

AFC Divisional Playoffs - Cincinnati Bengals v Buffalo Bills Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images

In Western New York, there are two things we’re always prepared for: the Buffalo Bills and snow. Disappointing as it is to share, the months of July and August are the only two in which no snow has ever fallen in the greater Buffalo, NY area.

Throughout the duration of the Bills’ 2023 regular season, the weather was largely agreeable for everyone involved, and there’s been little snow to talk about to this point of winter. Then came 2024. Along with the arrival of Super Wild Card Weekend, so, too, will the snow... plenty of it, thanks to Lake Erie.

The National Weather Service has officially issued a Weather Storm Watch ahead of Sunday’s game in Orchard Park, NY. The watch is in effect from Saturday afternoon (January 13), through Monday (January 15). Additionally, a High Wind Watch and Lakeshore Flood Watch have also been issued, with both advisories set to expire Saturday evening.

Buffalo’s set to host the Pittsburgh Steelers this weekend in a playoff game that might look far different than most fans have grown accustomed to, thanks to the highly erratic and sometimes fierce nature of storms off of Lake Erie.

Some weather models are predicting 1-2 feet of lake effect snowfall between Saturday and Monday, temperatures in the low to mid 20s (with a wind chill factor between 5-10 degrees, or potentially dipping into the negative numbers). Additionally, sustained winds near 30 mph with gusts up to around 50 mph are predicted throughout the day on Sunday.

In certain circles, speculation arose that Bills-Steelers could be relocated to Cleveland Browns Stadium (where the Browns will host their own playoff game on Saturday), though neither team, nor those within the CBS Sports coverage team has been notified of any such plans taking place.

Despite rumors to the contrary, the game remains as scheduled, and where scheduled at this time. So why then won’t the game be moved unless travel is impossible and roads are ordered closed? Here are a few things to consider:

  • The Browns have an open-air stadium right next to Lake Erie. That doesn’t scream “escaping potentially severe lake weather. If the storm proves severe enough, it’s reasonable to consider a move to a dome (Minnesota Vikings), or even much further east to escape the storm (think: Gillette Stadium or even MetLife Stadium).
  • The game could be moved to Monday. But if the snow is bad enough on Sunday to force a delay, would that give enough time to clear what’s necessary?

This storm feels so very Bills. Right? You’re probably saying to yourself “there’s no way I’m missing out!” If so, allow us a moment to care for your well-being.

If you’re going to the game, personal safety and that of others is the utmost concern. If you’re not confident driving in snow, consider the risks involved. Have a plan before you leave the house, and be prepared with life essentials should you become stuck or trapped in your car, or find yourself vulnerable to the elements.

Plan on far more time than usual both in getting to the game and when leaving Highmark Stadium. Reconsider your postgame plans, as well — even in victory. Western New Yorker’s love to boast their simpatico relationship with snow, but major storms are often unpredictable and your ability to compensate and react within the stresses of winter weather are diminished — especially when driving.