LAKE EFFECT STORM "BORAX"
December 11-12, 2003
Lake Flake scale: ** 2 Flakes
Maximum Snowfall: Lk. Erie: 12" (Ellicottville; Lk. Ontario: 13" (Greece).
Duration: 30 Hours +/-
Prime Feature: Unusually strong Lake Huron connection.
Lake Flake Scale: ** 2 Flakes
The 2003-04 Seasonís second event was both a typical yet unique one. It was a moderate west northwest one, but had an unusually long and strong Lake Huron connection, and this led to unusually high snowfall amounts farther west along the south shore of Lake Ontario. There was a very sharp gradient across the Rochester area from a foot near the lake to an inch or less south of the Thruway.
This event began during Thursday evening the 11th following passage of a strong cold front as 850 mb temps dropped to -10C along with a well aligned 280-290 flow. Moisture was fairly limited at first, but enough so that a broad area of snow showers developed south of Buffalo by 8 to 9 pm which consolidated into multiple bands by 2 am on the 12th. This activity continued fairly steady state right on through most of Friday before weakening and breaking apart later Friday afternoon and evening. There was some evidence of upstream connection from Lake Huron at times...but the activity off Erie was fairly concentrated along higher elevations from northern Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties into southern Erie and Wyoming counties.
The Lake Ontario situation was more interesting. General activity began during the predawn hours Friday as inversion level rose to 7-8000 ft. Then, a long intense band of snow off Huron streamed across southern Ontario...crossing between Hamilton and Oakville and then intensifying along and just offshore from Niagara, Orleans, and Monroe counties. This was enough to produce a few inches over northern Niagara County, but then the added fetch and moisture from Lake Ontario intensified the band and rates topped an inch per hour over northwest Monroe County. This band kept re-establishing itself close to the lakeshore through most of Friday before settling south across Rochester Friday evening and dissipating by Saturday morning. It did extend well down across Wayne county at times too. More typical lake effect fell further east from eastern Wayne to Oswego counties with several inches. All activity was squashed Saturday morning as a strong ridge built across the region.
Off Lake Erie
|South Dayton||8 inches|
Off Lake Ontario
|W. Monroe||7 inches|