Lake Effect Summary - November 12-14, 2014
Maximum Snowfall: Lake Erie 8" (Ripley); Lake Ontario 11.4" (Minetto)
Duration: 36 hours +/-
Flake Scale: 1 flake*
Our first lake effect event of the season was a minor event as cold west to northwest winds blew across the relatively warmer waters of the eastern Great Lakes. A cold front crossed New York State Tuesday night, which marked the beginning of a colder airmass settling across the eastern Great Lakes. The 850 hPa temperatures associated with this airmass would drop down to -10 C. Lake water surface temperatures were still around +10 C (~50 F), which was plenty warm enough to create moderate instability over the lakes allowing for the formation of bands of lake effect snow.
Snowfall was light from Wednesday evening through the day on Thursday, and was a mixture of both lake effect and synoptic as an upper level trough swung across the eastern Great Lakes region. By Thursday evening, the core of the colder air aloft arrived over the eastern Great Lakes causing the formation of two lake snow bands, one off each eastern Great Lake. As steering winds veered behind the upper level trough, the bands of snow shifted from east-northeast to east-southeast of the lakes. There was a period of moderate snow east of Lake Ontario Thursday evening oriented towards the Tug Hill on a westerly flow, just to the south of the Watertown area. As winds became more west-northwest later Thursday evening the bands of snow settled southward, with areas of western Oswego County and Chautauqua County nearing a half to one foot of new snow. Steering winds continued to veer more towards the northwest by Friday morning, pushing the band of organized lake effect snow off Lake Ontario inland across the southern Lake Ontario shoreline for a time. Following this, the northwesterly flow brought multi-bands of light snow showers to areas southeast of the lakes through the remainder of the day.
Much of the snow fell Thursday evening and overnight over less populated areas with little disruptions to regular routines. Therefore this event will earn just one flake.