Lake Effect Summary - December 5-9, 2010

Maximum Snowfall: Lake Erie 47" (Randolph); Lake Ontario 51" (Lacona) 

Duration: 96 hours +/- 

Prime Feature: Classic long lasting northwest flow event. Strong Huron connection.

The busy December continued with another classic, a strong northwest flow event on the heels of our major southwest event (Bluegill). After a two day break, a strong northwest flow of arctic air set up, with plenty of of synoptic moisture spinning back from a retrograding low over Quebec. This combination led to a long lasting event. There were several periods of more organized snow during the four day period, but the activity never really stopped until Thursday (9th) when high pressure finally settled in and squashed the activity.

The event began on Sunday 5th with strong bands off Lake Huron and Ontario. The Ontario band worked across the Rochester area during the afternoon and then slowly settled south overnight, and combined with a Georgian Bay band to drop 4 to 8 inches on Buffalo's north suburbs (which had escaped the previous event) on Monday 6th. This activity broke down later Monday but strong bands set up Monday night and continued through Wednesday night in a strip from Rochester to Syracuse as winds backed for better fetch. There was also a persistent band over far northern Oswego County northeast into the western Tug Hill, with a major upslope component, aided by the western edge of the synoptic snowfall.

To the west, the story was a major and long lasting plume which originated off Lake Huron and extended across London and Lake Erie and then on down across central Chautauqua and southwest Cattaraugus counties into McKean county Pennsylvania. This plume was very persistent and moved only a few miles in three days. Snowfall amounts under this band were prodigious, up to near 4 feet at Randolph, with reports of over 5 feet over southern Ontario. Two to four feet fell within the narrow band off Lake Ontario as well, from Wayne county to the Syracuse area. In fact, some Syracuse area locations received close to five feet. The gradients were extreme though, with only a few inches falling over many nearby locations.

The event was not as disruptive as the snowfall amounts make it appear, due to the long duration time period, but there was some significant impact at times for the Rochester metro area and some also on Buffalo's north side on Monday.

This was a modest event with limited impact. It did include a bit of lightning. It therefore earns four **** stars.

Here are some representative reports. 

Off Lake Erie - Location Snowfall
Randolph 47 inches
Cherry Hill 34 inches
Perrysburg 25 inches
Hinsdale 24 inches
Franklinville 19 inches
Buffalo area 2 to 8 inches
London, Ontario 45 to 65 inches

Off Lake Ontario - Location Snowfall
Lacona 51 inches
Newark 42 inches
Fulton 29 inches
Marion 29 inches
Phoenix 22 inches
Rochester area 14 to 24 inches
Syracuse area 40 to 60 inches


Local Climate Water & Weather Topics:
Current Hazards, Current Conditions, Radar, Satellite, Climate, Weather Safety, Contact Us

National Weather Service
Weather Forecast Office Buffalo
587 Aero Drive
Buffalo, N.Y. 14225-1405
(716)565-0204 or
(716)565-0802 Climate and Forecast recordings

Page last modified: December 18, 2013
Privacy Policy
About Us
Career Opportunities