LAKE EFFECT STORM "CALCITE"
December 17-18, 2003
Lake Flake scale: ** 2 Flakes
Maximum Snowfall: Lk. Erie: 10" Orangeville; Lk. Ontario: 7" West Monroe.
Duration: 18 Hours +/-
Prime Feature: Synoptic Evolution.
Lake Flake Scale: ** 2 Flakes
The third event of the 2003-04 Season was a marginal one and evolved out of a synoptic situation. The synoptic feature was a bit stronger and further west than expected, as a wave of low pressure moved up across the eastern portion of Pennsylvania and New York and dropped a swath of 2 to 6 inches of snow from Allegany county northeast across the Finger Lakes to Lewis and Oswego counties during the morning and midday hours of Dec. 17th. Meanwhile, an upper level low moved slowly across the Upper Lakes, and its circulation edged into far western New York, close enough to set off some lake effect snows northeast of Lake Erie in the Buffalo area through the midday and afternoon hours. This was faster than expected and the heaviest snow fell during the evening rush hour, snarling traffic.
flooded into all areas Wed. night and set off more typical westerly flow lake
effect activity, but this diminished quickly Thursday morning (18th)
as a cap set in due to warmer air aloft. The lake effect activity did not
organize as strongly as expected, perhaps due to increased shear and drier air
entrainment. Nonetheless, marginal warning amounts were observed, mostly in high
ground of southern Erie, southern Wyoming, and northern Cattaraugus counties.
Snowfall totals were a bit difficult to split between synoptic and lake effect, so are estimated...but highest totals due to the Lake effect were in the 6 to 10 inch range across the aforementioned areas. There was also 3 to 6 inches southeast of Lake Ontario due to the lake effect, but this followed several inches of synoptic snow.
This event, although only marginal in terms of amounts, did result in heavy snow for an hour or two across metro Buffalo during the evening rush hour on 17th, so it earns TWO ** Stars.
Off Lake Erie
|South Wales||6 inches|
Off Lake Ontario
|North Osceola||6 inches|
|Fair Haven||5 inches|