FEBRUARY 5-8, 2006

Lake Flake scale: *** 3 Flakes

Maximum Snowfall: Lk. Erie: 26" (Warsqw). Lk. Ontario: 33" (Hooker).

Duration: 60 Hours +/-

Prime Feature: Strong "pattern changing" event, which lingered as it tapered off.

Lake Flake Scale: *** 3 Flakes

After perhaps our mildest and quietest six week winter period on record, winter roared back into western and central New York , courtesy of a fairly significant lake effect event. Deep low pressure moved up just to our west early on Sunday 5th, which resulted in rain for our region, but the backside of the storm swept into the region following a cold front Sunday afternoon with "upslope" snow developing in the hills south of Buffalo by early afternoon. As the cold air deepened and moisture was stripped away, the activity became more lake enhanced and eventually purely lake effect as the night wore on. Strong westerly winds carried the activity well east into Livingston and Ontario counties where several inches accumulated. Over a foot fell by Monday morning on the Chautauqua ridge, but little if any in the Buffalo and Rochester areas. A similar scenario evolved east of Lake Ontario, albeit several hours later. A foot piled up by Monday morning on the northern portion of the Tug.  

The most persistent lake effect came on Monday the 6th as a deep westerly fetch of cold air crossed the unfrozen waters of Lake Erie and continued to pile up heavy snows from southern Erie and Wyoming counties southward into the northern portions of Cattaraugus and Chautauqua counties, with some activity extending into Allegany county. Winds diminished later in the day and began to veer more northwesterly, and activity began to affect Wayne and Monroe counties. A single multi-lake band extended from Superior across Huron and into Lake Ontario for a time Monday evening, and this band gradually settled southward as the winds continued to veer. Several inches fell Monday night and Tuesday morning between Buffalo and Rochester as well as Oswego county and the Syracuse area. Additional accumulation also resulted over the western southern tier, but amounts were less than in the previous 24 hours.  

Tuesday saw a general weakening in the activity as the inversion lowered and winds veered even more northwest, but remnants of the earlier uplake band settled over the Buffalo area and dropped a few inches during the afternoon and evening. This activity lingered into Wednesday morning (8th) and settled south again before becoming scattered by later in the day.

Snowfall totals for this three day plus event reached two feet over some higher elevations from Wyoming to Chautauqua counties, and over a foot over all the higher elevations from far southern  Erie county southward. 3 to 6 inches fell further north, including metro Buffalo and Rochester (the largest snows in almost two months here!). Off Ontario, the Tug received one to two feet, with lesser amounts farther south across Oswego county as the bands were more migratory.

One unusual facet of this event was the Lake Erie activity. It is rare for a significant lake event off Erie in February, but the lake is wide open this year due to the previously mild winter, so the potential for lake effect remains. This was a notable significant event, but focused mostly on the typical "snowbelt" areas and had little affect on the metro areas. It earns *** 3 Stars ***.

Off Lake Erie


26 inches
S. Dayton 24 inches
Perrsysburg 23 inches
Chafee 18 inches
Angelica 12 inches
Friendship 10 inches

Off Lake Ontario


33 inches
N. Osceola 16 inches
Lowville 15 inches
Highmarket 10 inches
Syracuse 10 inches
W. Monroe 6 inches