The Rochester-area should expect up to nine inches of snow by mid-day Saturday but compared to other spots in NY, our region will miss the blizzard effects and possible two feet of snow. Although, wind gusts could reach 50 mph in many locations, creating drifting snow and treacherous road conditions.

After a mild start to the week, winter will return with a wallop.

Large swaths of upstate New York were under winter storm warnings or rare blizzard warnings, with the most vulnerable spots to the east of Lake Ontario and Lake Erie told to expect 1 to 2 feet of snow by Friday afternoon, 1 to 2 feet more by Saturday in some spots, and winds gusting as high as 60 mph.

Although it started snowing after midnight Thursday and area residents will see an inch or two of snow on the ground as they rise for the day, Monroe, Ontario and Livingston counties will be spared the worst of it —but the Rochester metro area can expect rain, which could create a slushy but slippery morning commute on Thursday and then 2 to 4 inches of snow and strong winds by Friday afternoon.

After that, some locations will be hit by lake-effect snow when snow bands set up later on Friday and Saturday.

All told, Rochester-area residents should expect up to 9 inches of snow by mid-day Saturday, according to the National Weather Service in Buffalo.

It may seem like a lot of snow, but "compared to other parts of the state, Rochester will get off easily," said Weather Service Meteorologist Jon Hitchcock.

Wind gusts could reach 50 mph in many locations, creating drifting snow and treacherous road conditions.

Some school districts in Genesee and Orleans counties have cancelled classes Thursday due to the weather. And numerous crashes have been reported throughout the Rochester region.

A winter storm warning is in effect for parts of western New York, including Buffalo, Niagara Falls and into Genesee and Orleans counties. Those communities should expect 4 to 8 inches of snow between 10 p.m. Wednesday and 1 p.m. Thursday.

On Wednesday evening, the New York state Thruway banned empty tractor-trailers from the Lackawanna exit to the Pennsylvania state line.

Parts of Wayne County could see up to 10 inches of lake effect snow Friday and Saturday, with a three-day total of 14 inches, Hitchcock said.

Forecasters also issued a winter storm watch for Wayne and Cayuga counties between Thursday evening and Saturday afternoon

In comparison, parts of Oswego, Jefferson and Lewis counties are expected to see 2 to 4 feet of snow by Saturday. The same is true for Wyoming, southern Erie, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua and Allegany counties.

Those counties are covered by blizzard warnings, which are issued only when forecasters expect sustained high winds and snow heavy enough to reduce visibility greatly.

The last blizzard warning issued in this part of the state appears to have been on March 12-13, 2014.