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Golden Snowball Totals for the 2010 - 2011 Snowfall Season
Updated  5/1/2011

GSB Cities This Season Normal Average
to Date
This Time Last Season Normal
 Seasons Average
All Time Season Snowfall Record
Syracuse 179.0 111.8 106.1 121.1 192.1 inches
( 1992 - 1993 )
Rochester 127.0 99.8 89.8 100.3 161.7 inches
( 1959 - 1960 )
Binghamton 117.5 80.8 81.4 81 134.0 inches
( 1995 - 1996 )
Buffalo 111.8 96.7 74.1 97 199.4 inches
( 1976 - 1977 )
Albany 87.2 62.6 45.4 62.6 112.5 inches
( 1970 - 1971 )

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Busy Day Around The Lakes!

Certainly an interesting weather day in the Great Lakes region. Several things to cover. I'll break them apart into four sections with the highlights in case you don't feel like reading everything.

1. Lake Ontario Snows - 50 inches in 24 hours!
2. Lake Erie Snows - Ice? Not a problem for Buffalo!
3. Hurricane Michigan? - What the heck is it?!
4. Lunar Eclipse update!



1. The tug hill got a pretty good plastering of lake effect, upwards of 50 inches reported in Pulaski in about a 24 hour period! That is just crazy! But then again what else would you expect in that area this time of year? Below is a link to the regional radar from the tug hill from 11pm Tuesday through 9am Wednesday. It is just amazing to watch that band dance back and forth across Oswego County like that!

http://www.weathermatrix.net/2008/0220/rp220osw-1.mov

Here is another link to a good closeup loop of the radar from the Pulaski area from 1130pm Tuesday through 930am Wednesday. No wonder they are reporting 50 inches with the looks of that band!

http://www.weathermatrix.net/2008/0220/rp220osw-1z.mov



2. Buffalo finally got into the lake effect game a little bit this season. A bit of a disapointment that the official measurement only hit 4.2 inches, but still it helps out in catching up to Rochester. The lake effect was a bit of a suprise for us and played havoc for the local meteos in trying to forcast the lake effect comming off an 80% frozen lake. Snowfall totals picked up rather sharply just 2-3 miles south of the airport where a swath of 9-12 inches fell, about 6-8 inches of which fell in an intesne overnight burst lasting about 3 hours. Certainly not impressive for lake effect snow, but considering a single small hole in the ice managed to result in this still moderate and fairly well organized activity is interesting to note. Had the lake been ice free this would have been a perfect setup to dump a hefty amount of snow onto the Buffalo area. Things get more interesting now though hopefully I don't throw too much technical stuff I heard in too quickly. Since the lake was ice covered and not open water, the wind flow was actaully re-vectored shifting bands from where they would normally be expected. With the SW wind flow lake effect would normally setup in the city however the ice and wind convergenge actually resulted in bands and single convective cells to setup farther southward (more what you would see with a WSW-W wind flow) and then start to dance almost unpredictabily north and then south again. It also prevents a single band from gaining a prodomitie force comming off the lake and instead results in a multi-pronged feeder band effect which several times throughout the day kept merging into a single band then dying out in favor of more multi-bands. Another factor and something I learned from the NWS forcast discussion is that even if the lake is frozen lake effect, limited in nature of course, can still form if the conditions are right. I won't try and explain this in my own words, a copy and paste from the Buffalo forcast regarding the events off Lake Erie should sufice...

"THIS HAS BEEN A FACINATING EVENT TO WATCH UNFOLD. LAKE ERIE IS ABOUT 80 PERCENT ICE COVERED...HOWEVER IT IS STILL ABLE TO GENERATE SIGNIFICANT LAKE EFFECT SNOW. CONTRARY TO POPULAR BELIEF...ICE COVER DOES NOT SHUT OFF LAKE EFFECT SNOW. THERE ARE TWO CONTRIBUTIONS OF HEAT FROM THE LAKE...SENSIBLE HEAT FLUX AND LATENT HEAT FLUX. ICE COVER SHUTS OFF THE LATENT HEAT FLUX AS WATER CAN NO LONGER EVAPORATE...HOWEVER THERE IS STILL SIGNIFICANT SENSIBLE HEAT FLUX THROUGH THIN ICE COVER VIA CONDUCTION. AN ARCTIC AIRMASS SUCH AS THIS CAN STILL BE MODIFIED SUFFICIENTLY TO PRODUCE A CONDITIONALLY UNSTABLE BOUNDARY LAYER AND BANDS OF LAKE EFFECT SNOW DESPITE THE ICE COVER. THE AMOUNT OF OPEN WATER ON THE LAKE IS NOT NEARLY AS RELAVENT AS THE ICE THICKNESS...WHICH UNFORTUNATELY CANNOT BE MEASURED REMOTELY."

So I guess even with a frozen Lake Erie Buffalo still has a running chance in the contest! As with the Lake Ontario band here is a radar loop from the Buffalo area. It highlights the 2nd band that effected the area later in the evening from around midnight through 9am.

http://www.weathermatrix.net/2008/0220/rp220buf-1.mov




3. Well I thought my learning would have ended finding out decent lake effect could orgainze itself on a frozen lake, then this morning I was check radars around the Great Lakes region and I spotted this on the Grand Rapids, MI radar loop.

http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d32/smadsen8486/2.gif

The strangest looking band of lake effect I have ever seen, looks like a mini hurricane doesnt it?! So I shoot off some message board questions to explain what I was seeing. It turned out to be a "meso-low" or small scale area of low pressure that can give lake effect band those visible traits on the radar. From what I was told they are not common occurances, yet they are not overally rare either. A local meteo in Buffalo told me that they tend to form with light winds in strong artic air masses. A few people in the Michigan area also commented that these meso-lows can often bring some intense squall conditions. If summerof41 from the forum is on maybe he can tell us how the conditions where this morning as the meso-low squall looks to have came inland right around his neck of the woods. Here is an extended 4 and 1/2 hour radar loop of the band where you can really see the circulation on the leading edge of the band and even circulating convection around the center.

http://www.weathermatrix.net/2008/0220/rp220grr1.mov

While I thought this was something rare to see it didn't take me long to hear from that another meso-low formed over Lake Huron not to long after the first one on Lake Michigan. Here is a close up of a much more defeined "eye" if you can call it that on what was dupped Hurricane Huron.

http://icons-pe.wunderground.com/data/wximagenew/m/MrSea/132.jpg?r=1203532488

Lastly here is a loop of the satellite images that shows both of these meso-lows together, you do have to look really close to spot them! The one on Lake Michigan formed first and then a frame or two after you can spot the one on Huron briefly before it comes inland in Ontario.

http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d32/smadsen8486/sat_ir_mw_loop-12.gif?t=1203573791




4. The Lunar Eclipse had a perfct skies here in the Buffalo area this evening. Certainly a fun sight to watch the moon being darkened and then turning red for about an hour and then just as quick going back to a white disc in the night sky. If anyone got any good pictures be sure to comment with a link or drop by the forum and share them with us! I was out snapping for a while but my camera probably didnt get anything good, I'll have to check them out tomorrow.

Well if you've made it all the way to the bottom of this post, thanks for being a die-hard reader! No snow dance and 4 big weather related happenings all in one day, go figure!

7 Comments:

At 2/21/08, 2:01 AM , Anonymous mike m(binghamton) said...

ok so here is the scope on fridays storm: snow develops between 7and 10am, becomes moderate to heavy(esp binghamton, syracuse and albany) at times from 1pm friday to 1am saturday. then starts to taper off by 7am saturday. However it could snow lightly all day saturday in Bingo, Da cuse and Albany. my guess on accumulations are as folows, and are based strongly on the 00z NAM model run, with some considerance to the 00z GFS as well: 2-4 Buffalo and Rochester(heavier amounts just SE of cities) Da cuse 4-7 inches, Albany 4-8 inches, and Bingo 5-10 inches. the storm is STILL not set in stone, and there is certainly some room for those amounts to change depending on exact track and strength of low pressure system.

 
At 2/21/08, 3:09 PM , Blogger Patrick said...

General, I learned a lot from that post :) Some great pictured too. It's kind of funny what shows up on the radar sometimes. I think it was last week when some lake effect bands were coming from the west but there was one little band that was going to the west against everything else. It was pretty cool IMO.

Mike, no models here but looking at the radars you may be on as for the cities that will be getting some snow and Binghamton and Albany are looking pretty good at this point ;) It will be interesting to see how far North it will get. Hopefully it will grow in intensity and hold up as it gets closer to us.

 
At 2/21/08, 3:43 PM , Anonymous mike m(binghamton) said...

ill put out my final numbers later tonight, but for now i have to cut down the numbers for buffalo, rochester, and syracuse. right now id say buffalo and rochester 1-2 inches, syracsue 2-4 inches, albany 4-8 and binghamton 5-8 inches.

 
At 2/21/08, 6:24 PM , Blogger TheGeneral said...

im still holding out for a more northward push as the storm gets closer. Every storm so far this year has pushed farther north then the model consensus has shown. My numbers I put up in the forum might be a hair to high, but have a good feeling on them!

 
At 2/21/08, 10:53 PM , Blogger Patrick said...

General, there still seems to be to much of a westernly flow right now but moisture seems to be back building or getting drawn in from somewhere to the west. Is that coming from Canada around the Wisconsin area?

I think LES will play a a part in this. I'll go with:

Binghamton - 4-6
Buffalo - 3-4
Albany - 3-4
Syracuse - 6-8
Rochester - 4-6

 
At 2/22/08, 12:35 AM , Anonymous mike m(binghamton) said...

nah, i see how it is patrick da 'cuse always wins, thats not how its gonna be, ill give you the break down right here ;) : buffalo 2.2 inches, rochester 2.4", syracuse 4.3", Albany 5.2", and binghamton 7.4", that is total snowfall trough saturday 5pm. Honestly, i dont think lake effect will play a factor in this storm, there is going to be a sharp cutoff, most likely just SE of binghamton and Albany(climatology favors this location) where a hvy deformation zone is going to set up via a weak, but developing coastal low; the question is how fast does this form.....if it forms very early then syracuse could get in on it, and there total may be more like 8 inches, there is a 20 percent chance of that happening. if it forms a little earlier than expected Albany could get in on it, and there total would be more like 10 inches, there is a 40 percent chance of that happening. and if it forms just a "smidgen" earlier and further NW than models say right now ,Bingo could get in on it and their total would be more like 12", there is a 60 percent chance, it forms far enough NW to get BIngo. sorry for the long post, but alot to get out there.

 
At 2/22/08, 10:31 AM , Blogger Patrick said...

I'm still thinking something from Cananda is going to play into this but I think it's going to drop down after this storm goes through. I'm thinking a tug of war between the north and south air.

That said looking at the radar Binghamton and Albany are looking better right now than they did last night when I did my guesstimate. A nice moderate snow falling here in DaCuse area.

Revised totals are:

Buffalo 2-3
Rochester 2-3
Syracuse 3-4
Binghamton 5-6
Albany 7-9

Oh and remember I'm half blind and can't find my glasses so it could be California I'm looking at, lol.

 

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