Major lake effect snowstorm expected to pound Great Lakes region

Up to 4 feet of snow possible in western New York

Future snow through Sunday

NEW YORK – Parts of the Great Lakes region could be crippled heading into the weekend as a major lake effect snowstorm gets underway.

Western New York is expected to take the brunt of the storm with a widespread 1-3′ of snow. Where the main lake effect snow band sets up, 4 feet of snow will be possible. Lake effect snow bands are typically narrow, but extremely intense given the setup.

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Lake effect snow

More than a foot of snow is possible in Erie, Pennsylvania. Crippling snow is also expected downwind of Lake Ontario where 1-3′ of snow is possible. While very heavy snow is expected off Lake Superior, Lake Huron and Lake Michigan, it won’t be as much as as areas near lakes Erie and Ontario. That is because of the wind direction.

Lake effect snow

One of the components to heavy, paralyzing lake effect snow is the fetch, or distance the wind travels over the water. The longer the fetch, the more intense the snow. Lake effect snow is generated when cold air moves over the relatively warm lake.

The greater the difference in temperature between the lake and the air mass moving over it, the more instability can be generated, and therefore the heavier the snow.

Thundersnow is often a component to heavy lake effect snow events.

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About the Author:

Jonathan Kegges joined the News 6 team in June 2019 and now covers weather on TV and all digital platforms.