Lake Effect Snow-where??

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By Sam Kantrow on November 21, 2014, 6:00pm Last modified: November 21, 2014, 11:09am

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What’s your take on snow? It seems to be a love-hate relationship here in Connecticut, but if you really hate it, upstate New York is probably not your place to be. If you thought last winter was bad, try living in Syracuse. They usually see over 115 inches of snow each season. You’re back probably already hurts just thinking about shoveling all that snow. The snow can fall day after day and leave towns paralyzed until they are bulldozed out. But have you ever wondered why they get all that snow? And do we ever get a taste of that lake effect action? It all starts 200 miles northwest of here. The surface of Lake Ontario is like bathwater compared to the super cold Canadian air. The chilly breeze collides with the relatively warmer conditions over the lake. If you forgot - warm air rises. This creates a really unstable atmospheric environment. As the warm air rises, it reaches 100% humidity, and boom…a cloud is formed. The cloud is jam packed with moisture and has to go somewhere. Precip beings falling over the cold ground in the form of snow. This cycle continues on and on, which is why so much snow can get dumped. The lake provides plenty of moisture for this to persist for days. If you thought that lake effect snow can’t reach us, think again. When the winds high up in the atmosphere are fast enough, the snow can and certainly does make its way into Connecticut. It tends to be just a few flakes, but we have gotten inches from lake effect snowstorms in the past. Back in December 2010, many inches of snow fell in Litchfield County all due to moisture pulled from Lake Ontario. This is a forecasting nightmare for meteorologists because there are many influencing factors!

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Sam Kantrow

Town: Hamden, CT  

Reporting for WXedge since January 2012.

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