LAKE EFFECT STORM "EUCALYPTUS"
December 17-18, 2000
Lake flake scale: ** 2 Stars
Maximum Snowfall: Lk.Erie: (Warsaw) 9" ; Lk. Ont: (Hooker ) 13.8".
Duration: 24 Hours
Prime Feature: Synoptic and orographic enhancement, strong winds.
Lake Effect Storm "Eucalyptus" featured a combination of rather weak lake snow bands but very strong post-cold frontal winds that made driving very hazardous and produced blowing and drifting snow.
The event occurred in the wake of a cold front that produced the second high wind event in western and central New York in a week. Winds gusted as high as 53 mph in the Buffalo area and 64 mph in Watertown before the snowbands developed.
Most of the snow that occurred east of Lake Ontario was in large part due to orographic lift, as there was little indication of a well organized snowband throughout the night of the 17th. Off Lake Erie however, well aligned WSW flow produced a band that set up across the southern half of Erie and most of Wyoming counties late on the 17th and continued through the first half of the 18th before weakening.
The tremendous winds that occurred through the night of the 17th produced whiteout conditions and covered north-south roadways with significant snow drifts. There were a few calls from plow drivers that indicated "it was tough to keep up with the snow drifting across roadways".
The storm stayed south of the populated regions around Buffalo and Watertown and relatively meager snowfall totals for true lake effect events. However, in areas that received the lake snows, strong winds combined to produce very dangerous driving conditions. For that reason the storm earns a flake rating of (**) two stars.