LAKE EFFECT STORM "NEWTON"
February 12-14, 2003
Lake Flake scale: ***** 5 Flakes
Maximum Snowfall: Lk. Ontario: 50" (Hannibal); Lk. Erie: 12" (Perrysburg)
Duration: 48 Hours +/-
Prime Feature: Intense narrow steady state band off Ontario. Brief intense band off Erie despite ice cover.
Lake Flake Scale: ***** 5 Flakes
For the third time in less than a month, an intense lake storm smothered most of Oswego county. This event started immediately after an arctic frontal passage during the morning of Wednesday 12th on about a 300 vector...then lifted north slightly and became established on a 285 vector Wednesday afternoon through most of Thursday. The band was very steady state...except for a brief time overnight on the 13th...hugging the south shore of the lake from the Orleans county shore...east just off the Monroe County shore...and back in across northeastern Wayne...northern Cayuga...and south central Oswego county. The band wiggled only about 10 miles or so before finally dissipating during Friday. The airmass was very unstable with 850 mb temps near -24c and no shear. Snow growth was good but not optimum as cloud temps were a bit colder than the prime -10 to -15c.
At the same time, ice covered Lake Erie was quiet most of the time...but leads in the ice pack and open water west of Cleveland did initiate a narrow band during Wednesday evening which dropped some heavy snow from Dunkirk to Perrysburg. This lasted only about six hours.
Snowfall totals over Oswego county were extreme...with over 4 feet near Hannibal and over 3 feet across most of the central part of the county. This was primarily due to the longevity of the band...not exclusively the rate. Amounts dropped off sharply with about 9 inches at Syracuse and less than 3 inches at Rochester. The Tug Hill missed out of the heavier snow too...just getting grazed a bit late Wednesday with several inches along the south end.
This was a classic extreme event in all categories...and even affected a decent population area as well. For that reason...it earns five ***** stars.
By the way...the 14 events so far in the 2002-03 season is now the second most in the nine winters of record for the "Lake effect" names. Only 1995-96 with 19 had more. Normally there are nine events...and we still have over a month to go!
Here are some representative amounts ....
Off Lake Erie
Off Lake Ontario
|Red Creek||36 inches|
|West Monroe||27 inches|
|Fair Haven||26 inches|