LAKE EFFECT STORM"DOGWOOD"
December 5-7, 2000
Lake flake scale: *** 3 Stars
Maximum Snowfall: Lk.Erie: (North Tonawanda) 15" ; Lk. Ont: (Hooker ) 14".
Duration: 36 Hours
Prime Feature: Meandering bands. Dry snow across heavily populated region.
Lake Effect StormADogwood@ featured meandering bands of snow that affected areas well north of the typical snowbelts off Lake Erie and Ontario. Temperatures were relatively cold during this event, hovering in the teens and 20s. This produced a dry snow with snow to water ratios of 20:1 to 25:1. As a result, travel and snow removal was much easier than the heavier snowfall from a couple weeks earlier. The storm affected populated regions east of Lake Ontario across the city of Watertown and the northern suburbs of Buffalo, and for that reason it earns a flake rating of (***) three stars.
The event began early on the 5th when a cold front crossed the Niagara Frontier. Ahead and along the front, a lake enhanced band of snow developed and overspread the northern suburbs off Lake Erie then moved south across the region during the day. There were reports of lightning and thunder accompanying the front, though not as many as inAChestnut@. By noon 2 to 4 inches of snow had fallen. After the front crossed the region, a northwest flow set up off Lake Erie and Jamestown had 6 inches by evening. The same front produced a period of heavy snowfall over the Tug Hill plateau including places like Hooker and Highmarket.
A northwest flow continued across Lakes Erie Tuesday night but activity was not that well organized. By Wednesday morning however the Lake Erie band became better organized and began to drift north toward Buffalo and it=s suburbs by afternoon. As the afternoon progressed the band slid through Buffalo but only produced 2 to 4 inches as it continued to move north and weaken. Later in the afternoon a second more powerful band began to develop over Lake Erie and by the evening rush hour the northern part of Erie county was receiving 2 to 3 inches of snow an hour. Off Lake Ontario a band of snow along the south shore of the lake produced as much as 6 inches over eastern Wayne county (North Rose).
Wednesday night things really got interesting as the Lake Erie band stalled across southern Niagara and western Orleans counties. This is not all that common an occurrence, most natives of the Niagara Frontier will tell you that snowbands usually do not make it this far north. However, it should be noted that some of the most severe early season snow storms have occurred across northern Erie and southern Niagara counties (November 14-15, 1974). As the evening progressed places like Grand Island and North Tonawanda received heavy snowfall totalling as much as 15 inches. The band finally began to move south across Buffalo after midnight and dropped another 4 to 8 inches of snow over the south towns by morning. Off Lake Ontario the band also moved north across Watertown and northern Jefferson county. As much as a foot of snow occurred in parts of Jefferson county and even St. Lawrence county received it=s fair share with 9 inches at Gouverneur. The band moved south through Pulaski and Oswego by morning.
Because this event produced over a foot of snow and affected two metropolitan areas, it receives a 3-Star Storm ***.