Lake Effect Summary - March 19-22, 2013
Maximum Snowfall: Lake Ontario 36" (North Osceola); Lake Erie 20" (West Valley and Franklinville)
Duration: 72 hours +/-
Prime feature: Long duration late season event.
The winter of 2012-13 has had a limited number of lake effect snow events, as this was just the 6th event. However, each of the 6 events produced steady lake effect snows and the last 5 events this winter season have dropped at least a foot and a half of snow. This was a late season event as a cold upper level low remained stationary over southeastern Canada due to strong downstream blocking over Greenland. On Tuesday evening, behind a complex storm system which dragged an occluded front across New York State temperatures aloft about five thousand feet above the surface cooled to minus 12 C. This allowed for lake effect snow to increase off both eastern Great Lakes as a westerly flow drove lake snow bands across the traditional snow belts off Lake Erie and Lake Ontario.
Flow along the axis of both lakes brought snowfall rates of an inch per hour east of Lake Erie, and two inches per hour east of Lake Ontario. Temperatures at five thousand feet dropped to minus 15 C and inversion levels rose to around ten thousand feet which supported an organized band of snow through the night. By Wednesday drier air from the central Great Lakes began to filter into the Lake Erie band, and with daytime heating the band of snow became disorganized off Lake Erie, while continuing strong east of Lake Ontario.
These bands of snow had a few impacts with a few school closings Wednesday morning and travel on roads slowing, however major roads remained open. With this event late in the season, and with impressive snow totals on the Tug Hill a three *** flake rating will be given to the event.
Here are some representative reports.
Off of Lake Erie...
Off of Lake Ontario...