Lake effect snow can pile up fast. Just recall last week's event when the greater Syracuse area received nearly 4 feet of snow over a 4 day period. During that same event, mainly places saw much less snowfall with places like Ithaca just receiving a couple of inches. That's part of the charm of lake effect snow. It is very, very localized. Some spots get walloped, others just get a whimper.
I have been forecasting a new lake effect snow event for this week ever since last week. However, I was expecting this event to be different with lower amounts for the Greater Syracuse area.
Click on these links below to see my snowfall forecast
I had tried to be cautious that this event would be different from last week's mammoth snow blast. A small wind direction change over Lake Ontario, Georgian Bay and the rest of the Great Lakes can make a huge difference on how strong the lake effect snow will be. Last week's event had a consistent west-northwesterly wind (290-300 on the compass) over Lake Ontario. That wind flow streams over more of Lake Ontario and also lines up perfectly for the greater Syracuse area to get pummeled . In addition. the upstream winds were also passing over Georgian Bay allowing for extra moisture to get involved in our lake effect snow . More moisture equals more snow . On top of that atmospheric dynamics and other moisture was also nearly perfect, coalescing into a dramatic snowfall. More moisture equals more snow. On top of that atmospheric dynamics and other moisture was also nearly perfect, coalescing into a dramatic snowfall.
Our wind flow is just a little bit more northerly versus last week's event (300-320 on the compass). This means the air spends less time over Lake Ontario. Plus, the upstream wind flow is not coming off of Georgian Bay. Less moisture means less snow. Our atmospheric dynamics are slightly less impressive, as well. These are the main reasons why, at least initially our lake effect snow event will be lighter than last week's. I believe that per 12 hour period, snowfall will be 1-3" for many areas with local amounts as high as 3-6" for today, again for tonight and and again for Wednesday. At some point Wednesday night through Friday, the winds will probably get closer to that 290-300 wind flow . That could cause our lake snows to intensify closer to sections of central New York, including Syracuse.
As always, as small shift in the wind direction over the Great Lakes can cause a major change in our lake effect snow forecast. So, stay tuned for updates on the exact wind flow and how that may or may not alter our forecast
Feel free to tell us your lake effect story with comments at the bottom of this web story and with pictures by sharing them at MyCNYcentral.
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