LAKE EFFECT STORM "BENGAL"
NOVEMBER 24-25, 2005
Lake Flake scale: *** 3 Flakes
Maximum Snowfall: Lk. Erie: 24" (Ellicottville); Lk. Ontario: 24 " (West Leyden).
Duration: 36 Hours +/-
Prime Feature: Two part episode, initially over snowbelts, but northward swing severely impacted metro Buffalo and Watertown.
Lake Flake Scale: *** 3 Flakes
The 2005-06 season's second event was a very interesting one, beginning on Thanksgiving Day across the ski country and western southern tier and, after a brief lull, culminated in unusually intense snows on its northward swing in warm advection before shutting down Friday night (25th). Snowfall totals reached a foot or more across most of the higher elevations of the western southern tier as well as a large portion of Jefferson and western Lewis counties, and dropped off gradually away from those areas, but there also was a secondary maximum in the immediate Buffalo metro area from late Friday’s impact, in the 6 to 10 inch range.
The event followed a drastic weather change, so typical of this November, as a sharp cold front swung across the region Thanksgiving (Thursday) morning following the passage of a clipper. The low passed right over Lake Ontario and was followed by some pure arctic air, unusually cold for November with 850 mb temps in the -16 to -18C range. There was too much shear at first, and we had general snow showers and snowsqualls Thursday morning and midday as the cold air deepened, but winds finally lined up enough in the afternoon to ignite the lake machine and set up some intense bands on a west-east orientation by late afternoon off Lake Erie. The activity continued all night and included gusty winds over 30 mph, but because of the strong winds and relatively dry air, the snowbands were multiple and spaced and not all areas received as much as expected, lakeshore areas only caught 3 to 6 inches. Off Ontario, snowbands set up on a more southwesterly flow across Jefferson county Thursday evening and gradually settled southward into the Tug Hill by Friday morning as winds veered to west.
The Lake Erie activity weakened some toward daybreak Friday as winds lightened but then began to intensify and reorganize around midday Friday with increasing fetch as winds backed to 260 and then 250. All the while, warm advection was underway and it would be a race for metro Buffalo to see which was first, warm enough to end lake effect or wind shift to southwest. Well, the wind shift won out and the band continued to lift slowly north and intensify by late afternoon, then continued on across the Buffalo metro area during evening before dissipating around midnight up near the Falls. Snow fell at the rate of 2 to 3 inches per hour while the band passed, with Buffalo and its immediate eastern suburbs catching 6 to 10 inches.
The Lake Ontario activity also consolidated late Friday and lifted north across Jefferson County during the evening, dumping a foot in the Watertown area. It also broke up shortly after midnight. The event had two impacts, the first over ski country and was welcomed, the second over the densely populated Buffalo metro as well as the Watertown area during a big shopping day and evening, but had little or no rush hour impact. The snow was fluffy and winds were light during its second phase. The event earns *** 3 Stars ***
Off Lake Erie
|South Dayton||22 inches|
Off Lake Ontario
|North Osceola||22 inches|
|West Monroe||14 inches|