National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Powerful Nor'easter To Deliver Impacts To The East Coast

A powerful Nor'easter is expected to develop off the Mid-Atlantic coastline on Friday before impacting eastern parts of the Northeast and New England this weekend. Numerous hazards are likely from heavy snow, with significant accumulations across eastern Long Island/New England, to gusty winds and coastal issues. In fact, the combination of the snow and winds may result in blizzard conditions. Read More >

Lake Effect Summary - January 8 - 10, 2015





Maximum Snowfall: Lake Erie 22.5" (Attica); Lake Ontario 54.7" (Copenhagen)

Duration: 36 hours +/-

Flake Scale: 3 flakes***


The lake effect event spanning Thursday-Saturday January 8-10, 2015 was broken up into two or three distinct periods for many across Western NY. 

For Lake Erie, it started with an initial band that moved north across the Buffalo Metro area around Noon Thursday.  As it received the full effect of the still wide open and relatively warm waters of Lake Erie, it stalled and intensified for a few hours before continuing further north and weakening later in the afternoon.  During this time, visibilities dropped to zero along with wind gusts to 45 mph.  This created brief blizzard-like conditions while dropping a quick 2-4 inches of snow.  Luckily, this occurred between commuting times, and by the evening the band had dramatically weakened over primarily Niagara County.

Very little happened through the remainder of the evening until about midnight when some widespread non-lake effect snow moved across all of Western NY, dropping about an inch or snow.  Behind this, a very strong lake effect response ensued, with a powerful band developing over the Niagara Peninsula around 2am, quickly moving across Niagara County, and then over the Buffalo Metro area for the remainder of the night.  This portion of the event produced snow rates near 3 inches per hour during the morning commute.   However, in a first ever proactive move, the Thruway and adjoining highway systems were closed well ahead of this event, which resulted in minimal traffic as most stayed home or waited until the band moved further south. 

During Friday morning, the band indeed moved quickly south and lost its connection to Lake Erie for several hours until a new band started to form around noon over the Western Southern Tier.  This band grew stronger throughout the day, and by the evening snow rates of 3-4 inches per hour were once again reported in a 15-20 mile wide swatch, this time primarily along and south of Route 20A, affecting the Southtowns and ski country.  Many area roadways remained proactively closed, and once again this resulted in few issues during the evening commute.  Some side roads however, including routes 5 and 20 adjacent to the Thruway from the Southtowns to Ripley, were clogged with bumper to bumper traffic, albeit with near zero visibility due to very heavy snow throughout the evening.  By Saturday morning, some areas in the Southtowns had received as much as 20 inches of snow...most of it occurring in about a 6 hour period.   During Saturday, the band quickly weakened as it headed quickly to the north where if finally fell completely apart by nightfall.

Off of Lake Ontario, a lake band initially over Oswego County Thursday morning moved north and weakened into several diffuse bands over Jefferson County by the afternoon.   Similar to the Lake Erie event...little happened Thursday evening until widespread light snow spread across the region overnight...followed by a intensifying lake band along the St Lawrence River by Friday morning. This band then dropped south over the Tug Hill Plateau through the morning and then focused primarily on the northern portion of the Tug Hill region for the remainder of Friday afternoon.  The band continued to intensify Friday evening with snow rates estimated to be in the 3-5 inch range within the heart of the 15-20 mile wide band from about Adams to Copenhagen.   On Saturday, the band moved slowly northward while weakening across Jefferson County.   By the end of the event, some areas had received over 4’ of snow, much of this falling between Friday midday through Saturday afternoon.


Here are some representative snow amounts from this event.

Off Lake Erie...

22.5 inches... Attica
21.3 inches... Wyoming
20.5 inches... Perrysburg
20.3 inches... East Aurora
20.0 inches... Boston
19.0 inches... Hamburg
13.1 inches... Buffalo Arpt
12.2 inches... North Tonawanda
  8.0 inches... Corfu
Off Lake Ontario...
54.7 inches... Copenhagen
54.0 inches... Rodham
48.0 inches... Adams
37.0 inches... Beaver Falls
33.6 inches... Mannsville
24.8 inches... Carthage
23.0 inches... Watertown
18.5 inches... Theresa
17.0 inches... Lowville
11.0 inches... Harrisville