Lake Effect Summary - December 10-11, 2013
Maximum Snowfall: Lake Erie 35" (Colden); Lake Ontario 44" (Redfield/Constableville)
Duration: 48 hours +/-
Prime feature: Long duration snows.
The first major lake effect event in 2 years hammered areas east of Lakes Erie and Ontario beginning Tuesday December 10 through Wednesday December 11th. This was a well advertised event with Watches going out early Sunday afternoon on December 8. The long-lived event started with lake effect developing during the Tuesday morning and moving north and south across areas east of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario several times over the 2 day event.
Over Lake Erie, the event began as a band developed over typical upslope areas such as Perrysburg where as much as a half foot fell before the lake effect weakened some in the afternoon. The band quickly redeveloped toward the evening and lifted into the Buffalo Metro area before settling back to the south later in the evening. Most areas received a few inches with this band...but the eastern extent of the band pivoted over portions of Genesee and Monroe counties, where around 6 inches were reported in the evening. The snow continued to fall over the Southern Tier overnight however, and another 6 inches fell. By this time, a few areas along the Chautauqua ridge and northeast into Warsaw had received 1 to 1.5’.
During Wednesday, the band became quite intense with an extremely sharp edge on its northern boundary, cutting across Hamburg, Aurora, and Elma. As a case in point, toward the end of the afternoon only a few inches had fallen along the NW corner of the Town of Aurora, with over 2 feet in the southeast corner. By 2PM snow rates reached 3-5”/hr in the heart of the band, which forced the closure of the Thruway between Hamburg and Dunkirk for a few hours. The band shifted south by 6PM providing some respite from the heavy snow in the Southtowns. However, it continued to snow throughout the night in the Boston Hills, and by Thursday morning almost 3’ had fallen in places like Colden.
Over Lake Ontario, a similar story played out with an east-west oriented band developing and quickly Tuesday morning, dropping a half foot over upslope regions of the Tug Hill before weakening Tuesday afternoon. The band then intensified significantly Tuesday night, remaining in place with little movement through Wednesday Night. It was during this time that fantastic snowfall amounts were noted, with as much 3-4' falling in a 24-36 hour period before dropping south and nearly dissipating toward morning.