LAKE EFFECT STORM "GRAPEFRUIT"
February 28 - March 2, 2005
Lake Flake scale: ** 2 Flakes
Maximum Snowfall: Lk. Erie: 24" (Perrysburg); Lk. Ontario: 18" (Lockport).
Duration: 76 Hours +/-
Prime Feature: Hybrid three-part event. Synoptic/deformation/upslope-lake effect.
Lake Flake Scale: ** 2 Flakes
This event was a unique one, but not uncommon in our area, especially later in the season. It was not an exclusively lake effect event, but had enough of that feature to be considered here. Snowfall amounts were not huge, but the long duration and widespread nature of the event did cause some disruption. So we will consider it the 7th named lake event of the 04-05 season.
The event began late on February's final day. It's first phase was strictly synoptic. As a very complex and sprawling system lifted north from the Gulf States and interacted with a deepening full latitude trof over the middle of the nation. A deep coastal storm shot northeast independently at first…dropping heavy snow once again on New England but having little or no affect on us. But…the trof spawned an intensifying storm over Indiana and Ohio by Monday 28th which then lifted slowly northeast across Lake Erie. Snow spread northward across our entire region Monday afternoon and evening. It was generally light at first, but became moderate to heavy for a time across northwestern areas, roughly from Buffalo to Rochester and north shortly after midnight. This synoptic phase of the storm tapered off by daybreak Tuesday (March 1) but not until after dropping accumulations of 7 to 9 inches over Niagara and Orleans counties, 5 to 7 inches around Buffalo and Rochester, and 3 to 5 inches elsewhere.
The snow never completely ended Tuesday morning, rather, it entered a new hybrid phase. The primary low moved to near Buffalo by midday, while the coastal stalled off Boston. As the upper energy interacted, a deformation zone formed from WNY to Mass with heavier snow along it. This persisted through the afternoon into the evening Tuesday. In addition, lake influence increased with north to northeast winds off Ontario and westerly winds off Erie, most areas received several more inches during this period.
Finally, as the entire system pulled to our east, a more familiar set up occurred, with wraparound snow gradually giving way to heavier upslope snow well south of Buffalo in the northwest flow. An intense band dropped slowly across ski country Wed afternoon and evening, with a Lake Huron source. Up to 10 inches fell in spots like Perrysburg and Cassadaga and 8 inches at Boston and Colden. Lake effect also dropped a few inches southeast of Lake Ontario during this period. The activity pretty much shut down Thursday as a ridge crested over the region.
3 day totals reached near 2 feet along the Chautauqua ridge and over 18 inches over ski country. A foot or so fell across most of the region from Buffalo to Rochester, with slightly higher totals over Niagara and Orleans counties due mainly to the synoptic feature on the first day and lake enhancement on the second. East of Lake Ontario, snowfall was somewhat less, with upwards of a foot from the Tug Hill to Oswego county, but this fell over 72 hours and caused no problems.
This event was long lasting and a hybrid. It affected all areas, but generally
at an Advisory level only and caused only modest disruption. It earns **
2 Stars **
Off Lake Erie (3 day totals with lake effect in parentheses)
|24 inches (14)|
|Cassadaga||22 inches (13)|
|Stockton||21 inches (12)|
|Jamestown||14 inches (8)|
|Buffalo||12 inches (4)|
Off Lake Ontario (3 day totals with lake effect in parentheses)