LAKE EFFECT STORM "JULIAN"
January 14-15, 2003
Lake Flake scale: **** 4 Stars
Maximum Snowfall: Lk. Ontario: 40" (W.Leyden); Lk. Erie: 14" (Sinclairville)
Duration: 30 Hours +/-
Prime Feature: Well-aligned flow produced very intense band off Ontario. Fairly light winds allowed very heavy snow to fall right at the lakeshores as well.
Lake Flake Scale: **** 4 Flakes
Yet another surge of arctic air produced our third significant lake effect event in less than a week. There was only about a 12 hour break from the end of "Imes" as a weak ridge built across the region...but another trof and weak low approached from the upper lakes and slowly passed just to our north during Wednesday 15th. Ahead of this feature...a weak westerly flow developed and set off lake effect snows off Lake Erie during Tuesday evening (14th). These snows did not extend too far inland as the wind fields were weak so focused on the lakeshore and adjacent ridges of Chautauqua County and extended up into Southern Erie County. Up to 10 inches fell by daybreak in these areas before the activity weakened into general snow showers during Wednesday.
Over on Lake Ontario...the activity remained somewhat disorganized along the lakeshore of Wayne and Cayuga counties at first...due to the light winds...but the wind flow became more aligned westerly early Wednesday morning and a single band set up across Oswego county. Again..as along Erie...the relatively light winds allowed very heavy snow to fall near the lakeshore...with the city of Oswego being particularly hard hit. Almost two feet fell on the city in less than 9 hours during the day. Winds increased later in the day...allowing the band to extend east into southern Lewis County...and it remained nearly stationary until early evening when it drifted south and broke apart around midnight over Monroe..Wayne...and Onondaga counties. The added uplift brought typically huge amounts to the southern half of the Tug Hill with over 3 feet at West Leyden and 29 inches at North Osceola. Some of these southern Tug Hill locations have received over 5 feet in less than a week.
Although the major activity ended around midnight Wednesday night...remnants of the lake snows remained in place and actually drifted north across metro Buffalo and Watertown later Thursday but accumulations were less than 3 inches. A strong arctic front dropped across the region early Friday (17th) and finally shut down the lake effect machine.
This was a relatively brief but intense event...especially off Lake Ontario. It did affect major population areas such as Oswego and Dunkirk...so it earns four **** stars.
Here are some representative amounts ....
Off Lake Erie
Off Lake Ontario
|N. Osceola||29 iinches|
|Sandy Creek||14 inches|