Prime feature: Strong winds during the first half of the event produced significant blowing and drifting snow.
2012 began with the 4th lake effect snow event of the season following a strong cold front which moved through the region on New Year's Day, ushering in a much colder and more seasonable airmass after several days of warmth to end 2011.
Off Lake Erie lake effect snow initially developed on westerly winds across the higher terrain of Southern Erie, Wyoming, Chautauqua, and Cattaraugus counties well south of Buffalo during the wee hours of the morning on January 2nd. Lake effect snow remained in place across the higher terrain of the Southern Tier through the 2nd. Winds turned northwest the night of the 2nd through the 3rd with weaker multiple bands occasionally moving through the Southern Tier.
Off Lake Ontario a band of heavy lake effect snow developed early on the morning of the 2nd across the Tug Hill Plateau. This dropped a foot of snow in about 10 hours before moving south across Oswego County and weakening along the south shore of Lake Ontario. Multiple bands of lake effect snow developed on northwest winds the night of the 2nd and into the 3rd but never gained much intensity, except across western Oswego County where moderate snow fell much of the day on the 3rd.
Narrow bands of snow from Lake Huron and Georgian Bay also migrated across the region the night of the 2nd, dropping very localized amounts of 1-3 inches across the Niagara Frontier.
Narrow bands of snow from Lake Huron and Georgian Bay also migrated across the region the night of the 2nd, dropping very localized amounts of 1-3 inches across the Niagara Frontier. Snowfall amounts during this event were not terribly impressive, but strong winds during the 2nd did produce plenty of blowing and drifting snow with difficult travel conditions. This event therfore earns two ** stars. Here are some representative reports.