User avatar
STT757
Topic Author
Posts: 13174
Joined: Tue Mar 28, 2000 1:14 am

Lake Effect Snow Question

Tue Nov 18, 2008 4:44 pm

We're getting into that time of year, here in New Jersey I've seen flurries a couple of times already. Something tells me it's going to be a real snowy Winter this year. We haven't had one of those in a long time, something along the lines of Winter's 1993, 1994, 1995 and 1996.

I've always been fascinated with these huge snow storms they get along the Great Lakes, my question is what area gets the most snow or feels the effects of Lake effect snow the most.

Buffalo New York, Erie Pennsylvania, Cleveland Ohio or someplace else?.. And about how much on average.
Eastern Air lines flt # 701, EWR-MCO Boeing 757
 
canuckpaxguy
Posts: 1482
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2003 2:31 pm

RE: Lake Effect Snow Question

Tue Nov 18, 2008 5:01 pm

I think it depends on the year, currents, etc. ... here's some basic information on Wikipedia.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_effect_snow

This is why I love Toronto. Everywhere around us has snow right now; particularly upstate-NY, but other than a couple of flurries throwing a bit of snow around, we've had nothing. It seems Toronto is often (not always) sheltered from the lake effect snow.

G
 
desertjets
Posts: 7564
Joined: Fri Feb 18, 2000 3:12 pm

RE: Lake Effect Snow Question

Tue Nov 18, 2008 5:07 pm

Depends on which way the wind is blowing.

Quoting STT757 (Thread starter):
my question is what area gets the most snow or feels the effects of Lake effect snow the most.

I think in terms of upstate New York, Syracuse usually gets hit the hardest of the 4 big cities. Strong northerly/north westerly winds will bring in bands off of Lake Ontario. And very strong westerly to south westerly winds will bring in bands off of Lake Erie (though this seems to be less common).

I lived in Oswego for a little over 3 year (just 30 miles NW of Syracuse on the lake) and got hammered the last winter I was there. 6+ feet in less than a week, and there were places in the county that got nearly double that.

Lake effect snow can be really finicky though. When the effect is weak the bands may be just a few miles wide. So while one place will get nothing or a dusting, another place that is in a consistent band for the better part of a day will easily see a foot or more. This makes it very unpredictable.
Stop drop and roll will not save you in hell. --- seen on a church marque in rural Virginia
 
2H4
Posts: 7960
Joined: Tue Oct 19, 2004 11:11 pm

RE: Lake Effect Snow Question

Tue Nov 18, 2008 5:10 pm

When I was living in Western Michigan without a garage, I kept a push broom near the car in the winter to clear the snow off. There was a stretch where we would get several inches every few days. Often, I'd have to spend a few minutes sweeping the snow off, and another few (several) minutes scraping the ice off of the windows.

I was pretty anal about keeping each window completely clear of snow and ice before driving. I'm convinced that around 90% of winter vehicle accidents are a result of two things....limited visibility from obscured windows, and following too closely. If people would clear their windows, pay attention, and quadruple the distance between themselves and the car ahead, the number of winter accidents would drop drastically.

Now, so long as I live in the northern states, I will never live anywhere without a garage.

Back to your question, though, I'd say the area east of lake Erie gets the worst of it, followed by western lower Michigan. More specifically, the first 30-40 miles in from the Lake Michigan shoreline. Beyond that, the lake effect really drops off and becomes much less of a factor.

2H4

[Edited 2008-11-18 09:12:43]
Intentionally Left Blank
 
desertjets
Posts: 7564
Joined: Fri Feb 18, 2000 3:12 pm

RE: Lake Effect Snow Question

Tue Nov 18, 2008 5:17 pm



Quoting 2H4 (Reply 3):
Back to your question, though, I'd say the area east of lake Erie gets the worst of it, followed by western lower Michigan. More specifically, the first 30-40 miles in from the Lake Michigan shoreline. Beyond that, the lake effect really drops off and becomes much less of a factor.

I'll take what Wikipedia has with a bit of skepticism, but from the article it looks like the UP of Michigan is hit the hardest with lake effect off of Lake Superior. Followed by the Tug Hill plateau in upstate New York getting hit off of Lake Ontario. Since Lake Erie usually freezes over completely its effect is usually early in the season. I remember the freak lake effect event in Buffalo in October of 2006 that just wreaked havoc.
Stop drop and roll will not save you in hell. --- seen on a church marque in rural Virginia
 
chrisjake
Posts: 894
Joined: Thu Jul 15, 2004 11:19 am

RE: Lake Effect Snow Question

Tue Nov 18, 2008 6:46 pm

Lake Erie hasnt frozen completely over in quite some time now. Basically, the Lake Erie "Snow Belts" are from the eastern suburbs of Cleveland, up through Erie PA, and all the way up to Buffalo.

the Lake Effect snows are incredible. in just a difference of a few miles means a difference from maybe 1-3" of snow to several feet.

as an example, I live in western Cleveland and I have barely a trace of snow on the ground, yet my friends on the far east side are digging out from 8"+ right now. when the wind has a westerly fetch, the sun may shine at my house, yet when I look over Lake Erie, those dark clouds are heading east to dump some serious snow.


chris
 
User avatar
WildcatYXU
Posts: 2602
Joined: Sat May 06, 2006 2:05 pm

RE: Lake Effect Snow Question

Tue Nov 18, 2008 7:05 pm



Quoting DesertJets (Reply 2):
Lake effect snow can be really finicky though. When the effect is weak the bands may be just a few miles wide. So while one place will get nothing or a dusting, another place that is in a consistent band for the better part of a day will easily see a foot or more

Damn right. Here's the result of such snowsqall.

Big version: Width: 1024 Height: 768 File size: 444kb


That night, if you looked at the radar image, you've seen three narrow bands of heavy precipitation stretching from Lake Huron towards YXU. While our area (suothwestern London) looked like this, Byron, few clicks west of us, had only few inches of snow.
310, 319, 320, 321, 333, 343, 345, 346, 732, 735, 73G, 738, 744, 752, 762, 763, 77L, 77W, 788, AT4, AT7, BEH, CR2, CRA, CR9, DH1, DH3, DH4, E75, E90, E95, F28, F50, F100, Saab 340, YAK40
 
oswegobag
Posts: 47
Joined: Tue Oct 07, 2008 5:48 pm

RE: Lake Effect Snow Question

Tue Nov 18, 2008 9:14 pm

This is a favorite topic of mine as I have also lived in Oswego when I went to college as a meteorology student. The lake effect that Oswego gets was acually a reason I went to college there. The Tug Hill Plateau does get the most lake effect snow of anywhere (about 30 miles north of Syracuse), but the city which gets the most is SYR. Even though BUF is always in the news as getting a lot of snow, it is usually about 30 miles south of Buffalo that gets hammered with snow in Chautauqua and Cattaragus Counties.
 
dxing
Posts: 5859
Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2008 5:14 pm

RE: Lake Effect Snow Question

Tue Nov 18, 2008 9:46 pm

Probably just as interesting is to live on western Lake Erie where I lived for several years and watch the steam rise off the warm water, evaporate, and then turn into clouds blowing to the east several thousand feet up. Always an interesting sight and I remember it seeing it start to happen one Saturday, calling a friend of mine in eastern Cleveland, and several hours later he called me back to say it had started snowing.
Warm winds blowing, heating blue skies, a road that goes forever, I'm going to Texas!
 
dragon-wings
Posts: 3896
Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2001 4:55 am

RE: Lake Effect Snow Question

Tue Nov 18, 2008 9:52 pm

I guess the Long Island Sound is not big enough to cause lake effect snows. It's to bad beacuse I love snow and would love to see that much snow (6+ feet) on Long Island.
Don't give up don't ever give up - Jim Valvano
 
IHadAPheo
Posts: 5499
Joined: Mon Sep 17, 2001 3:26 pm

RE: Lake Effect Snow Question

Tue Nov 18, 2008 10:11 pm

Lake effect snow is yearly visitor here in KBUF. Until Lake Erie freezes over the risk of lake effect snow is always with us. Until recently the temperatures have been quite mild and lake Erie is curreently a balmy 49 F. The current air temperature is 25 F all we need now is a strong wind out of the southwest and the lake effect machine could be kicked into high gear and drop a large amount of snow quite quickly.

Lake effect snow comes off Lake Erie in "bands" that look like fingers moving across the area. In the bands the snow can fall at 3-4 or more inches an hour while a few mile away the sun can be out with now falling. This can change as the bands of snow move across the area. All it takes to turn off the "machine" is a small change in wind direction.

Back in December 2001 we were treated to a good blast of lake effect snow where 84" of snow fell in 4-5 days. It took a bit to be able to get around and getting to work a was true adventure (and my commute was only 2 miles).

Oh well general snowfall is forecast for the next week or so but so far there is no lake effect in the forecast

Here is a link to an article about the 2001 snow with a basic lake effect explanation

http://archives.cnn.com/2001/WEATHER/12/29/buffalo.snow/

IHAP

Sorry to babble but an old man and thoughts of snow tend to equal a confused old man typing with one hand while the other hand fearfully holds a shovel
Pray hard but pray with care For the tears that you are crying now Are just your answered prayers
 
skysurfer
Posts: 1034
Joined: Wed Sep 15, 2004 5:37 am

RE: Lake Effect Snow Question

Wed Nov 19, 2008 12:27 am

Here in Kingston, Ontario the snow can hit hard in one area and another area will have practically nothing. We're right on Lake Ontario and quite often you can see northern New York being hammered by dark snow clouds whilst here in Kingston we have clear blue skies. Just 1 mile into Lake Ontario is Wolfe Island.....snow can be coming down like you wouldn't believe over there but on the mainland we've got practically nothing!

Cheers

Stu
In the dark you can't see ugly, but you can feel fat
 
User avatar
WildcatYXU
Posts: 2602
Joined: Sat May 06, 2006 2:05 pm

RE: Lake Effect Snow Question

Thu Nov 20, 2008 4:01 pm

And here we go again. The bands of precipitation are clearly visible in the radar image.

Big version: Width: 585 Height: 497 File size: 75kb
310, 319, 320, 321, 333, 343, 345, 346, 732, 735, 73G, 738, 744, 752, 762, 763, 77L, 77W, 788, AT4, AT7, BEH, CR2, CRA, CR9, DH1, DH3, DH4, E75, E90, E95, F28, F50, F100, Saab 340, YAK40

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Baidu [Spider], Yahoo [Bot] and 14 guests