Lake Effect Summary - January 14-15, 2008

Maximum Snowfall: Lake Erie 10" (Boston); Lake Ontario 4" (Highmarket) 

Duration: 12 hours +/- 

Prime Feature: Very moist airmass. Marginal temperature conditions. Complicated synoptic pattern.

The very quiet and mild pattern of early January was finally interrupted by a complex synoptic feature on the 14th as an elongated east-west front set up from weak low pressure in Michigan to a coastal storm off New England. This front lifted north to Lake Ontario during afternoon of 14th, leaving western New York under a moist west to southwest flow. A general inch or two of snow fell throughout the day but temperatures were not quite cold enough to set off the lake machine, at least at first. But, as they fell to -9C or so overnight, the delta-t reached 11-12C, just enough in the moist airmass to develop lake snows on a 260 wind vector and an intense band set up over southern Erie county by 2 am Tuesday (15th) and drifted north to the Buffalo south towns and even as far as West Seneca and Lackawanna for a few hours near daybreak before settling south and breaking up as a cold front dropped across the area by early afternoon. There was some convergence and upslope with the front and just after over the Chautauqua ridge but only another inch or two fell there. Snow did fall at over an inch per hour in the predawn hours just south of Buffalo, leading to totals in the 6 inch range over the south towns and up to 10 inches in the Boston hills.  Timing was not so good as it affected the morning commute south of the city and few school districts did cancel classes.

The event was very marginal and localized. However, it did affect a sizeable population and the morning commute, so it did have more impact than a storm this size usually would. It therefore earns two ** stars.

Here are some representative reports. 

Off of Lake Erie...

Location Snowfall
Boston 10 inches
Wales 9 inches
East Aurora 6 inches
Hamburg 6 inches
Orchard Park 6 inches
West Seneca 5 inches
Mayville 5 inches
Warsaw 5 inches
Buffalo 2 inches

Off of Lake Ontario...

Location Snowfall
Highmarket 4 inches
Hooker 4 inches


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