December 13-14, 2004

Lake Flake scale: *** 3 Flakes


Maximum Snowfall: Lk. Erie: 24" (Stockton); Lk. Ontario: 12" (Marion).

Duration: 48 Hours +/-

Prime Feature: Belated first event of the season.  Interaction with Arctic front.

Lake Flake Scale: *** 3 Flakes

The mild 2004-05 season got off to a very late start with our first event being about a month later than normal. Only the mild winter of 01-02 started later.  Our initial event was a healthy one though with up to two feet falling along the ridges of Chautauqua county. As is often the case with early season storms, elevation played a part with the lakeshore areas like Dunkirk only getting 4 or 5 inches total. The bulk of the event fell during the first 6 to 12 hours and this was focused almost exclusively off Lake Erie when winds were westerly. After the passage of an arctic front the winds turned northwesterly…leading to a longer period of lighter snows in multiple bands off both lakes and even some upstream connections with Huron and Georgian Bay . Several inches of snow did fall during this 24 to 36 hour period…with up to a foot southeast of Lake Ontario from Wayne to Oswego counties.

 The event began around midnight on 12-13th off Lake Erie as a deep low moved across southern Ontario to our north. Mild air over western New York resulted in precipitation falling as rain as the cold front approached…but cold advection and veering winds to about 240-250 set up a band of mixed rain and snow over the Buffalo metro area shortly after midnight. Winds continued to veer as the cold air deepened so that the band turned to snow as it drifted south across southern Erie and Wyoming counties early Monday morning. The snow was at its most intense between 4 am and noon Monday (13th) when 8 to 12 inches fell across the Boston hills. An arctic front then dropped south during the afternoon and evening…disrupting the main band…but causing some locally heavy snows down across Chautauqua and western Cattaraugus counties. This activity continued on south with some very heavy snows down in the Erie and Cleveland areas by Monday evening. Lighter activity continued into Tuesday on a northwest flow with general 1 to 4 inch falls across all of western areas…some from upstream lakes.

 Off Lake Ontario …the event really didn’t get going until the passage of the arctic front late Monday. General light to moderate snows fell for a good 24 to 30 hours from late Monday into Tuesday night on a 320 flow so bands were multiple. The steadiest snows fell in the Rochester area early Tuesday and further east across Oswego county later Tuesday and Tuesday evening. There were also a couple inches Tuesday evening over Niagara and Orleans counties as a final short wave enhanced the activity as it dropped through. All activity ended early Wednesday (15th) as ridging and lowering inversions moved in.

The event was a decent initial storm with significant accumulations. It had little impact though as it was well forecasted and focused mainly on ski areas south of Buffalo . The metro areas were impaced little… Rochester 3 to 6 inches…Buffalo just 1-2”. But there were amounts of up to two feet…so the event earns *** 3 Stars ***

Off Lake Erie


24 inches
Sinclairville 20 inches
Perrysburg 19 inches
Boston/Colden 14 inches
Yorkshire 13 inches
Warsaw 11 inches

Off Lake Ontario


12 inches
Williamson 9 inches
W. Monroe 8 inches
Phoenix 8 inches
Fairport 6 inches
Fulton 6 inches