Friday, December 13, 2013

Lake Effect Nearly Over, More Snow Coming

This is my second and last post today.  Be sure to check the previous post for some discussion of the overnight storm.  Over the past couple of hours, we got another burst of fairly heavy snow, which will add more to the storm totals.  I thought I'd share a few more photos below.  We are launching our last balloon and are ending operations for the day and probably the weekend.  It looks like we will be getting more snow over the weekend, but it's not of the lake-effect variety, so we'll be resting and getting caught up instead.

Marvelous curl of snow from the roof.  We have removed it.  People have been killed by
what are known as roofalanches.  If you have these, or have large snow loads on roofs
that are prone to slide, get them cleared off. 
Beautiful example of what snow scientists describe as the viscoelastic property of snow.  
Picturesque snowscape in North Redfield this morning.  Heaven.
This is a HYVIS crystal sampler.  It takes photos of snowflakes that fall into the
black tube.  We have deep paths like these between all of our instruments now.
Fortunately the snow is light.  We have snowshoes, but have found it quicker
just to slog through the light snow.  
Drowning in snow.  There was nothing on this porch when the storm started.  This window is in the lee of the
house so the snow depth against the window is not as high as it could be.
Addendum @ 10:10 AM EST:

The sun, the sun!


  1. I would be very interested in hearing your take on the differences between the mechanism for Great Lakes lake effect snow and that of lake effect snow from the Great Salt Lake. Are there significant differences? My intuition tells me yes. I have the impression that lake effect snow is the major contributor to snow accumulations directly downwind of the Great Lakes. My guess is that Geography and the depth of the lakes has a large impact on the climatology of these types of events in both areas.

    1. Both Lake Ontario and the Great Salt Lake generate what are known as long-lake-axis-parallel (LLAP) snowbands. LLAP bands are generated when the flow is roughly parallel to the long-axis of the lake and they are the most intense type of lake-effect storm. I think the mechanisms responsible for LLAP bands over the two lakes are somewhat similar, although we have shown that topography can help to initiate and focus LLAP bands over the Great Salt Lake. I suspect we will find some nuances over Lake Ontario too.

      Note that over both Lake Ontario and the GSL, there are a wide range of lake-effect systems. We tend to generalize by saying "band", but events often feature multiple bands and a wide range of disorganized structures. As I like to say, there are a lot of critters in the woods.