LAKE EFFECT STORM "GRANITE"
January 18-21, 2004
Lake Flake scale: ** 2 Flakes
Maximum Snowfall: Lk. Erie: 17" Ellicottville; Lk. Ontario: 6" Cato-Meridian.
Duration: 60 Hours +/-
Prime Feature: Northwest flow, arctic air, upstream lake connection
Lake Flake Scale: ** 2 Flakes
The seventh event of the 2003-04 winter was a rather typical northwest flow event with multiple oscillating bands. The activity was also orographically enhanced across higher elevations of the southern tier. Lake Huron and Georgian Bay played a role in this event too, both directly (long streamers) and indirectly (moistening the lower layers). As is often the case in northwest flows, the activity moved around enough so that no one spot got huge amounts, but sprayed everyone with something.
The event began late Sunday afternoon the 18th following a trof passage. A 290 flow developed bands along the south shore of Lake Ontario from Wayne to Oswego county...which intensified and slowly dropped south as winds veered...crossing the Rochester area later in the evening and overnight. Several inches fell in just a few hours around the city...especially near the lakeshore. Off Lake Erie...activity began a bit later...and was fairly weak, but local amounts of 4-6 inches fell around Ellicottville.
The flow remained northwest through most of Monday but backed to west again ahead of the next trof passage Monday night. Winds turned northwest again late Monday night thru Tuesday...with multiple banding from Lake Huron and Georgian Bay interacting with moisture from Lakes Erie and Ontario to spray the entire region with 1-4 inches, with isolated spots a bit more. Heavier snows did focus on a strip from eastern Wayne County to Syracuse. The activity weakened Tuesday night but hung on even into Wednesday before winds backed sharply ahead of the next clipper...shoving activity north across Buffalo during the late morning.
Snowfall totals for the overall 60 hour event ranged up to 17 inches off both lakes...with a large area of 4 inches or more. Here are some representative reports...
Overall impact was low though, with the Rochester area having some disruption during heavier burst Sunday evening...but otherwise the activity was spread out enough to cause few problems as the region has become accustomed to cold snowy weather which has been in place for the past few weeks. This event therefore earns Two ** Stars.
Off Lake Erie
|South Dayton||12 inches|
Off Lake Ontario