Lake Effect Summary - November 16-19, 2008
Maximum Snowfall: Lake Erie 30"
(Ellicottville); Lake Ontario 28" (West Leyden)
Duration: 72 hours +/-
Prime Feature: Impressive multi-phased event.
Little population impact.
The major pattern change which began with the prior event a week earlier really set in with this event as a strong cold front crossed the
eastern Lakes late Saturday and early Sunday (16th) and was immediately followed by a strong westerly lake effect event. Parameters were
near perfect on Sunday with cold advection, 850 mb temps in the -10°C range which is prime for snow growth, little shear and good moisture.
Initially, very heavy snow was restricted to the higher elevations of Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties on the 270 flow, but it eventually
worked down to lake level as well. Erie PA even got 14". Over 20 inches fell by late Sunday night along the ridgetops. East of Lake Ontario,
similar activity began on the Tug Hill Sunday morning, with amounts topping a foot by early Monday.
A secondary trof crossed the area late Monday and disrupted the lake snows, with winds veering sharply to NNW for Monday night and Tuesday.
This wind shift combined with some convergence to bring some minor accumulations north of Buffalo overnight Monday night and then multiple
bands set up later Tuesday and Tuesday night which gradually weakened during Wednesday morning, finally shutting down later Wednesday as
a ridge moved across the area. This second phase brought up to a foot over Cayuga County with over 6 inches from Rochester's eastern suburbs
to western Oswego county. Little fell over the west.
Total snowfall ranged from two feet over the Chautauqua ridge with a maximum of near 30" in Ellicottville, but dropped off sharply to the
south and north, to 5" near Olean and about the same at Colden. A strip of 3 inches fell just north of Buffalo with the convergence from
the trof on Monday night, the rest of the area had only 1 to 3". Further east, the Tug Hill caught upwards of two feet during the first
phase (westerly flow) but then activity shifted west to the south shore of Lake Ontario from Rochester to Syracuse and south into the Finger
Lakes for the remainder of the event on Tuesday and Tuesday night.
The event was impressive in regards to snow amounts but was well spread out and affected only a limited population with few major impacts.
It therefore earns three *** stars.
Off of Lake Erie...
Off of Lake Ontario...