Lake Effect Summary - December 3-5, 2006

Maximum Snowfall: Lake Erie 8" (Mayville); Lake Ontario 18" (Pulaski) 

Duration: 48 hours +/- 

Prime Feature: Shifting winds and areas, marginal amounts.

After a very mild and open month, a deep intense storm passes across the Great Lakes on the first day of December. Our region was on the mild side of the storm initially so received heavy rains and thunderstorms followed by strong damaging winds during the evening of the 1st. Colder air filtered into the area on 2nd but did not become deep enough to initiate the lake effect machine until a secondary frontal passage late on Sunday 3rd. A westerly flow brought a few inches to higher elevations of the southern tier from Lake Erie by Monday morning, while up to a foot fell over the Tug Hill off Lake Ontario. There was a bit of a lull Monday afternoon before the next trof approached and turned winds into the southwest later in the day. That's when things got interesting around metro Buffalo when a strong band lifted north into the city right at the rush hour. The band moved through quickly but dropped 2-3" in an hour, snarling traffic for hours. Winds backed all the way to south and shoved the band into the Niagara Peninsula before another trof crossed and shoved the band back south across the area later in the evening. The quick movement limited accumulations to 4-6 inches over most of the area. The activity settled south into ski country and the western southern tier Tuesday morning but was intermittent and became cellular, limiting accumulations to 4 to 8 inches. It then lifted north to Buffalo's South Towns in early evening before shutting down in the warm advection.

Off Lake Ontario, a similar scenario ensued, with an intense band lifting up into the Watertown area late Monday night and early Tuesday before settling south all the way to Wayne county midday Tuesday before lifting north fast across the area Tuesday evening until warm advection shut it down by midnight. The fast movement generally limited additional accumulations to a few inches, but Watertown area did get 8-10" overnight Mon-Tues.

The event was marginal but relatively long lasting and affected a large aea. It also impacted rush hour at Buffalo. It therefore earns two ** stars.

Here are some representative reports. 

Off of Lake Erie...

Location Snowfall
Mayville 8 inches
Wales 7 inches
Ellicottville 7 inches
Buffalo metro 4 to 6 inches

Off of Lake Ontario...

Location Snowfall
Pulaski 18 inches
N. Osceola 17 inches
Highmarket 14 inches
Watertown 11 inches
Adams 9 inches


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