Not a winter goes by where the Great Lakes don’t cause headaches for someone and usually that’s areas downwind of Lakes Erie and Ontario in portions of western New York. You guessed it: lake effect snow.
But what exactly is lake effect snow? Simply, the air cools much faster than water does. So, the air temperature might be around 25ºF but since the water takes much longer to cool, lake surface temperatures may be closer to 40ºF. In this instance, cold winds moving over the warmer lake water pick up the water vapor off the lake and it rises through the colder air where it then freezes and precipitates.
Lake effect snow is no joke, areas just southwest of the city of Buffalo got absolutely buried by nearly 5 feet of snow in November 2014 in an absolutely historic event. It also produced some of the coolest time lapse footage I’ve ever seen.
Areas a bit more to the north along Lake Ontario are seeing similar amounts but luckily it’s a bit more spread out but the snow is still coming down. It started last week and this past event let up around Sunday.
The New York State Mesonet site in the small town of Redfield has been feeling the brunt of this latest wave and it’s made for more impressive time lapse footage.
The lake effect has continued throughout yesterday and today. And it’s official, the 6 foot perimeter fence at the Redfield site has been buried.
That’s really, really cool.
The good news for them though is that temperatures will be rising ahead of that potent storm system poised to cross the country next week should raise temperatures into the 40s and shut off that lake effect snow machine, at least for awhile.
Those warmer temperatures will melt some of that snow and allow them to warm up enough for a rain chance later in the week.