Lake Effect Summary - November 6-7, 2007

Maximum Snowfall: Lake Erie 8" (Mayville & others); Lake Ontario 4" (Highmarket) 

Duration: 42 hours +/- 

Prime Feature: Marginal event. P-type issues. First of season. Elevation oriented.

After the warmest six month period in history, the 2007-08 Lake Effect season got off to a quick start about a week earlier than the average  with a very marginal precipitation type event. There was much lead time with this event as models all indicated the first cold snap of the autumn season several days ahead of time. The forecast was very difficult however as 850 mb temps were very marginal, forecasted to be in the -5C to -6C range, and actually warming to -4C during the anticipated event. This was considered a degree or two too mild for a major event, but dynamic cooling can always play a major part as well as diurnal factors.

The sharp cold front passed across the region during Monday evening November 5, and as 850 mb temps fell to -6C or so, lake plumes developed off Lk Erie across Erie PA and into Chautauqua county prior to dawn. Several inches fell by about 10 am across much of Chautauqua and northwest Cattaraugus counties and there were some power outages there, and especially in the Erie PA region as many trees were still full leafed after the unusually warm fall to date.

This band lifted north but broke up and became cellular as it crossed the South Towns. Meanwhile, a sharpening trof was approaching from Michigan and western Lake Erie and this backed the winds further by early afternoon. Buf airport winds stayed at 200/210, keeping temps in 30s, while city and north saw 250 winds. A new intense band formed ahead of the approaching trof and was perhaps enhanced by this additional wind boundary and brought several intense cells right up over the Buffalo airport and on to western Genesee county. Over an inch of QPF fell in the form of very heavy graupel, which amounted to 2-3 inches in this narrow area. All the while, the ground remained bare 1-2 miles north and west of the airport and in the city. Some lightning accompanied this feature, which only lasted a couple of hours. There was even a waterspout over Lake Erie off the Buffalo harbor. The trof pushed the band east and south after 4 pm and weakened it. Warmer air aloft also turned it to mainly rain. There was some northwest lake effect Tuesday night and most of Wednesday across the southern tier but accumulations ran an inch or two at most.

Off Ontario, the event was not impressive. 850 mb temps were a degree or two milder early on, so limited lake snows did not form until Tuesday evening on the Tug Hill. Flow was westerly Wednesday and the activity focused on the Tug, a mix at low elevations, but it was not intense due to marginal temps and abundant shear. The band did organize better for awhile wed evening over Oswego county and dropped 1 to 2 inches, then fell apart by midnight as inversion lowered and shear increased.

The event was marginal with few traffic problems but did have some impacts with power outages in Chautauqua county and unusual amount of graupel in Buffalo. It therefore earns two ** stars.

Here are some representative reports. 

Off of Lake Erie...

Location Snowfall
Mayville 8 inches
S. Dayton 8 inches
Ellicottville 8 inches
Colden/Warsaw 5 inches
Perrysburg 4 inches
Buffalo Airport 2.5 inches

Off of Lake Ontario...

Location Snowfall
Highmarket 4 inches
Boonville 4 inches
W. Monroe 3 inches


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