LAKE EFFECT STORM "HALITE"
January 22-24, 2004
Lake Flake scale: *** 3 Flakes
Maximum Snowfall: Lk. Erie: 5" Wales; Lk. Ontario: 36" Fair Haven.
Duration: 36 Hours +/-
Prime Feature: Intense Northwest flow, upstream lake connection
Lake Flake Scale: *** 3 Flakes
January’s third event followed closely on the heels of its second, as yet another arctic cold front crossed the region during Thursday the 22nd. A burst of snow accompanied the front during the late morning and early afternoon, then a well-aligned 290 flow soon resulted in a plume of lake snow over Lake Ontario which zeroed in on Oswego and northern Cayuga counties during the overnight and into Friday morning 23rd. There was a distinct upper lakes connection...in fact, a streamer was visible on satellite all the way from Lake Superior, which crossed northern Lake Huron, southern Ontario, and eventually got enhanced over Lake Ontario. There were also some lesser bands to the west, with origins off Georgian Bay, which affected Niagara to Monroe counties from time to time. Snow fell at 4-5 inches per hour from Fair Haven to Fulton at times Thursday night and Friday morning. The band did oscillate a bit, but only about ten miles or so, and it was about 3-5 miles wide. The synoptic conditions were favorable with inversion/equilibrium levels up at 8-10 k feet, good moisture and snow growth, and a non-sheared wind field. Winds veered a bit more to 310-320 range during Friday, and the upper lakes connection was lost...so the activity became more multiple banded and weaker Friday afternoon and night, but some low level snow showers even continued into Saturday morning even with inversions less than 2000 feet! In fact, some minor lake snows continued through Saturday and Sunday along the shore and then over the lake, and eventually an east-west band formed out of this, coming onshore in the Toronto-Hamilton corridor Monday 26th ahead of a synoptic system!
The response was very limited off Lake Erie, probably due to two factors...the lack of upstream connection, and the buildup of ice on the lake, which is probably 60-70% covered by this time. Topography played a factor here with several inches accumulation over higher elevations of ski country, but strong winds did cause considerable blowing and drifting and difficult driving conditions Thursday night into Friday.
This event was very intense and dropped huge amounts on a narrow section of central New York, but the overall population impact was not great, so it earns THREE *** Stars.
Off Lake Erie
Off Lake Ontario
|West Monroe||29 inches|
|Syracuse AP||10 inches|