LAKE EFFECT STORM "JUNIPER"
February 28-March 1, 2001
Lake Flake scale: *** 3 Flakes.
Maximum Snowfall: Lk.
Ontario: 23" (Martville); Lk. Erie: 3" (Perrysburg)
Duration: 24 Hours
Prime Factor: Low level westerly flow, cold advection, approaching e-w trof.
After an absence of over a month, a major lake effect event occurred as the month of February drew to a close. It was a subtle one and many of the lake parameters we look for were not quite in sync...but a narrow single band of snow formed during the afternoon of the 28th along the south shore of Lake Ontario from the Rochester area east to near Syracuse. This followed a cold frontal passage earlier in the day.
There was a good deal of shear at low levels, and the inversion was low at first, but snow growth temperatures were favorable in the moist low layers below 4000 feet. An east -west trof slowly drifted south toward Lake Ontario on Wednesday evening (28th) and this reduced the shear and raised the inversion (equilibrium level) a bit. This was all it took to intensify the band during the evening and it moved little overnight...meandering a bit across Oswego County.
The band continued through much of Thursday morning (3/1) before weakening during the afternoon due to diurnal effects. In addition, the weak boundary dropped south of the area and subsidence followed. This front did stall across the southern tier later Thursday into Friday and a ripple of low pressure dropped southeast along it...igniting more snow Thursday night (3/1) and early Friday (3/2)..but this was considered synoptic and the 3 to 6 inches from this feature will not be included in the lake effect totals.
The heaviest snow fell within a 10 mile wide area where the snowband was most persistent...from northeast Wayne County...ESE across Northern Cayuga and the central and southern part of Oswego County. The town of Martville in Cayuga County reported 23", while Sodus, Hannibal, Fair Haven, Phoenix, Fulton, and West Monroe all had 12-18". Oswego reported about 9" and Syracuse airport 8".
Little activity was reported off mostly frozen Lake Erie...but 1 to 3 inches did fall over higher elevations south of Buffalo into Chautauqua County.
This event...only the second of 2001...earns three flakes on our "flake scale" because of its intensity. It also affected a sizeable population.