LAKE EFFECT SUMMARY

FEBRUARY 17-21, 2006

Lake Flake scale: ** 2 Flakes

Maximum Snowfall: Lk. Erie: 9" (Darien, Warsaw). Lk. Ontario: 35" (Hooker).

Duration: 96 Hours +/-

Prime Feature: Long lasting multipart event, primarily Lake Ontario, marginal  Lake Erie, late season.

Lake Flake Scale: ** 2 Flakes

The season's 12th event was a long lasting multi part one, and followed a violent windstorm on Friday the 17th which saw temperatures tumble from record levels of near 60 in the predawn hours to 20s during the afternoon. The event began during Friday afternoon in the typical 280-290 flow with upslope factors evolving into lake effect and dropping several inches by early Saturday morning over areas southeast of Lake Ontario from the Tug Hill to Oswego county, and a few inches over the hills from southern Erie to Chautauqua counties.

The event then weakened but never really died completely on Saturday as drier air advected in, cutting down the process, especially off Lake Erie. In addition, a secondary arctic front dropped across the area during the late morning with a burst of snow, then lake effect set up again for awhile Saturday night into Sunday morning but only amounted to 1-4 inches east of Lake Erie and 3 to 6 inches over the Tug Hill region and Oswego county.

The flow turned westerly Sunday morning and parameters improved to allow for consolidation of an intense band east of Lake Ontario by the afternoon over the Jefferson-Oswego county line and on across the northern Tug Hill of Lewis County. This band was nearly steady state Sunday night into Monday, before weakening a bit and lifting north Monday afternoon. One to two feet fell in a narrow area here. The activity lifted north into the St. Lawrence valley for awhile late Monday night and Tuesday morning dropping a few inches, then dropped south again during Tuesday and lifting north Tuesday night and dissipating. Little further accumulation occurred after midday Tuesday (21st).

The Lake Erie activity was much less organized and presented major forecast challenges due to marginal parameters such as drier air, more shear, strong winds, and milder temperatures. It tried to organize a bit during midday Sunday as it lifted north and dropped 2 to 4 inches over parts of southern Erie and up into southwest Genesee counties but then fell apart during the afternoon as it passed up across the Buffalo area due to late season diurnal factors and dry air advection. This process repeated itself to a lesser degree during Monday with light activity lifting north and dissipating in the Buffalo area. Finally though, as a frontal trof approached Monday night, the low levels moistened up and lake snow blossomed over the Buffalo metro area, dropping 3 to 5 inches into Tuesday morning. This was not handled well at all by mesoscale models or our forecast. Finally a stronger front broke this up midday Tuesday, but all in all, The 4 day activity off Lake Erie was quite minor and spread out. 

This was a long lasting event with some breaks. Heavier amounts fell off Lake Ontario but affected little population. The Lake Erie activity was lighter and sporadic but did have some impact on Buffalo metro for Tuesday morning's commute. Overall then, it earns two ** Stars **.

Off Lake Erie

Warsaw

9 inches
Darien 9 inches
Bennington 7 inches
Ellicottville 6 inches
Buffalo metro 6 inches
Rochester metro 5 inches

Off Lake Ontario

Hooker

35 inches
Worth 30 inches
Lacona 18 inches
N. Ocseola 16 inches
Highmarket 15 inches
Watertown 6-10 inches