Lake Effect Summary - January 31-Febuary 1, 2010

Maximum Snowfall: Lake Erie <2"; Lake Ontario 16" (Adams) 

Duration: 18 hours +/- 

Prime Feature: Relatively brief, but intense WSW Lake Ontario band.

A rather innocent looking synoptic pattern produced a brief but fairly intense lake effect event off the eastern end of Lake Ontario from midday Sunday (1/31) into early Monday (2/1). A weak low passed across Ontario into Quebec well north of the Lakes, with a trailing west-east trough/front stalling out north of Lake Ontario. This set up a westerly flow across the Lake and conditions became favorable (rising inversion, deepening moisture) to induce a single lake plume which moved onshore across central Jefferson County by noon Sunday and held pretty much in place until mid evening when winds veered a bit, pushing the band into southern Jefferson and northern Lewis counties. The "front" finally crossed around daybreak Monday and broke up the band, with more scattered activity over Oswego county.

The heaviest snow fell over the southern and central parts of Jefferson and northwestern Lewis counties where 8 to 16 inches fell. The Watertown area was hard hit with 10-12 inches. Farther south, Oswego county escaped with 2 to 5 inches. There was a sharp northern edge to the heavier snow, about 5-8 miles north of Watertown as Theresa only caught an inch.

Lake Erie did not respond nearly as well to this synoptic set-up, being farther from the front, having much drier air and a lower inversion, and plenty of ice in its western 2/3 with only the eastern basin being open, reducing the potential fetch to 60 miles or so. Still, clouds, flurries and snow showers did pour off the eastern end of the Lake Sunday afternoon and evening, but accumulations were generally an inch or less.

This event was brief and affected a small area, although it did include Watertown. It fell on a Sunday afternoon and night and had little impact. It therefore earns one * star.

Here are some representative reports. 

Off of Lake Ontario...

Location Snowfall
Adams 16 inches
Hooker 13 inches
Harrisville 12 inches
Watertown 10-12 inches
Black River 9 inches
Barnes Corners 8 inches
Highmarket 8 inches
Carthage 7 inches


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