Weather Tidbits: Lake Effect Snow Formation

This Weather Tidbits explains how lake effect snow develops. The set up for lake effect snow involves warm water and cold land; in which the cold air moves over the warm lake water. The heat and moisture cause clouds to form; which grow bigger and snow begins to fall, with heavier snow bands forming downwind from the lake. The lake effect snow effect ends when the lake freezes over; cutting off the source of moisture & warmth, which is dependent on the depth of the lake. The set up is most common in the United States across the Great Lakes in the late fall and winter. The snow bands are known at times to be narrow and capable of producing 2-3 inches of snow per hour or even more, bringing whiteout conditions.

Lake effect snow is heavily dependent on the wind direction. on which areas will receive the snow. This leads to great differences in weather by only a few miles; with some getting blasted by snow, while not too far away, the sunshine is beaming brightly. The National Weather Service issues a Lake Effect Snow Warning in a dark cyan color.

Categories: Weather Tidbits