NOVEMBER 16-17, 2005

Lake Flake scale: *** 3 Flakes


Maximum Snowfall: Lk. Erie: 18" (Elma); Lk. Ontario: 9" (Carthage).

Duration: 30 Hours +/-

Prime Feature: High impact on densely populated Buffalo South Towns.

First snow of season.

Lake Flake Scale: *** 3 Flakes

The 2005-06 season's first event was a very impressive one. It came at the conclusion of the warmest six month period ever in western New York, and even more impressively, smothered the areas just south of Buffalo with over a foot of heavy wet snow less than 24 hours after record warmth of near 70 degrees!! Areas east of Lake Ontario also received significant amounts.

The main player in this event was a very intense storm which moved up across the Central Great Lakes early on Wednesday the 16th, a classic "Gales of November" Great Lakes storm. Warm air surged north ahead of the storm late Tuesday into early Wednesday, but its trailing cold front was sharp and crossed western New York Wednesday morning. Temperatures plunged after the front and soon became cold enough aloft to initiate lake effect rain squalls over the 52 degree lake by midday. The lake effect rains set up on a 230-240 flow and focused on Buffalo and North Towns and on into Niagara County Wednesday afternoon. As the cold air deepened, the winds slowly veered more westerly during the evening, and the rain gradually changed to sleet and then snow. This resulted in just a coating of snow over the city of Buffalo before it moved south, but then it stalled on a 255 vector from about 1 AM to 10 AM Thursday (17th), dumping heavy wet snow at the rate of 1 to 2 inches per hour within an 8 mile wide strip extending from the lakeshore near Silver Creek and Angola, northeast across Hamburg, Orchard Park, East Aurora, and on into Elma and the southern half of Alden. These areas all received over a foot of snow, and road conditions deteriorated markedly. The snow was wet and heavy and was the first of the season. This ended at least a ten year period where the South Towns escaped major lake storms (which had tended to be further north, over Buffalo and Cheektowaga, in recent years).

A secondary front/trof pushed into the region during midday Thursday and disrupted the intense band, but the activity reorganized on a more west-east axis across Chautauqua County for several hours Thursday afternoon into the evening, giving some healthy accumulations there.

Areas east of Lake Ontario also shared in the event, but the bands were more transitory there. They developed over northern Jefferson County Thursday morning, stalled into early afternoon, then slowly dropped south across Lewis County into Oswego county during the evening. The flow turned 290 Thursday night and did give a few inches to Oswego and over to Wayne Counties before dying off as a ridge moved in early Friday morning.

The activity died off Friday morning, but as the flow turned southwest Friday afternoon, it still was cold enough for some minor lake snows to redevelop further north, across Buffalo and Niagara with an inch or two, same for Watertown to Thousand Islands. This was not included in totals. The event was intense early season storm over a small but heavily populated area. Also, it followed a very mild period and was the first snow of the season. The event earns a healthy *** 3 Stars ***

Off Lake Erie


18 inches
Marilla 17 inches
Orchard Park 16 inches
Hamburg 16 inches
Bennington 14 inches
East Aurora 13 inches
Darien Center 8 inches
Dunkirk 6 inches

Off Lake Ontario


9 inches
Harrisville 9 inches
Beaver Falls 7 inches
Watertown 5 inches
West Monroe 3 inches