Lake-effect snow

Lake-effect snow is produced as cold winds blow clouds over warm waters.
The location of common lake-effect bands on the Great Lakes
Temperature difference and instability are directly related, the greater the difference, the more unstable and convective the lake-effect precipitation will be.
Lake effect snow bands over Central New York
Map showing some of the lake-effect snow areas of the United States
Visible satellite image showing a large single lake-effect band from Lake Huron with vigorous vertical motion: This band produced 8 in of snow in the eastern and northern suburbs of Toronto, Ontario.
The community of Wasaga Beach after 60 cm of snow fell in 12 hours from a persistent lake-effect band
IRIMO radar animation of lake effect snow in southern coast of Caspian Sea in the north of Iran
Lake-effect clouds over Caspian Sea on January 7, 2008
Lake effect snow in Athens on February 16, 2021
Lake effect snow in Athens on February 16, 2021
Chart showing the sea-effect snow event of January 1987 in the UK: A continuous stream of showers deposited over 2 ft of snow over SE coastal regions.
NetWeather radar image showing "lake-effect" snow over Kent and northeast England
Buffalo, New York, after {{convert|82.3|in|cm}} of snow fell from December 24, 2001, to December 28, 2001
Fulton, New York, after a snowburst dropped {{convert|4|-|6|ft|cm|0}} of snow over most of Oswego County January 28–31, 2004
The Veteran's Day storm of November 9–14, 1996, may be the most severe early-season lake-effect snow storm the Great Lakes has witnessed in the past 50 years. At the height of the storm, over 160,000 customers were without power in Greater Cleveland alone, as the storm produced isolated snowfall tallies approaching {{convert|70|in|cm|0}}.

Produced during cooler atmospheric conditions when a cold air mass moves across long expanses of warmer lake water.

- Lake-effect snow

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Any product of the condensation of atmospheric water vapor that falls under gravitational pull from clouds.

Mean precipitation based on global high resolution climate data (CHELSA)
Countries by average annual precipitation
A thunderstorm with heavy precipitation
Late-summer rainstorm in Denmark
Lenticular cloud forming due to mountains over Wyoming
Condensation and coalescence are important parts of the water cycle.
Puddle in the rain
An accumulation of ice pellets
A large hailstone, about 6 cm in diameter
Snowflake viewed in an optical microscope
Convective precipitation
Orographic precipitation
Lake-effect snow bands near the Korean Peninsula in early December 2008
Rainfall distribution by month in Cairns showing the extent of the wet season at that location
Standard rain gauge
Updated Köppen-Geiger climate map
Rainfall estimates for southern Japan and the surrounding region from July 20 to 27, 2009.
Extreme precipitation events have become more common in the U.S. over recent decades.
Image of Atlanta, Georgia, showing temperature distribution, with hot areas appearing white
Example of a five-day rainfall forecast from the Hydrometeorological Prediction Center

Where relatively warm water bodies are present, for example due to water evaporation from lakes, lake-effect snowfall becomes a concern downwind of the warm lakes within the cold cyclonic flow around the backside of extratropical cyclones.


Lake-effect snow is the cause of the regional nickname

The Snowbelt is the region near the Great Lakes in North America where heavy snowfall in the form of lake-effect snow is particularly common.

Orographic lift

Air mass is forced from a low elevation to a higher elevation as it moves over rising terrain.

A gravity wave cloud pattern—analogous to a ship wake—in the downwind zone behind the Île Amsterdam, in the far southern Indian Ocean. The island generates wave motion in the wind passing over it, creating regularly spaced orographic clouds. The wave crests raise and cool the air to form clouds, while the troughs remain too low for cloud formation. Note that while the wave motion is generated by orographic lift, it is not required. In other words, one cloud often forms at the peak. See wave cloud.
Precipitation induced by orographic lift in Andalusia.
Windy evening twilight enhanced by the Sun's angle, can visually mimic a tornado resulting from orographic lift
A view of the Front Range of the Rockies capped by a föhn wall.

The ski country region of New York and Pennsylvania, particularly with lake effect snows.

Air mass

Air mass is a volume of air defined by its temperature and humidity.

Different air masses which affect North America as well as other continents, tend to be separated by frontal boundaries
Source regions of global air masses
Picture of cold front (left part of the image) moving over the Czech Republic
Lake-effect snow bands near the Korean Peninsula

For example, southwest of extratropical cyclones, curved cyclonic flow bringing cold air across the relatively warm water bodies can lead to narrow lake-effect snow bands.

Keweenaw Peninsula

Northernmost part of Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

Keweenaw Peninsula
Spectacular copper and calcite specimen from the Pewabic Lode, Keweenaw Peninsula.
Second-growth forest near the tip of the Keweenaw, facing west

The peninsula receives copious amounts of lake-effect snow from Lake Superior.

Buffalo, New York

Second-largest city in the U.S. state of New York and the seat of Erie County.

Approximate extent of Wenro territory c. 1630
Buffalo in 1813
Pan-American Exposition, 1901
Iron ore unloaded at Buffalo, c. 1900
Satellite image of the Niagara Peninsula and Niagara Frontier; Buffalo is at the lower right.
Buffalo in winter, 2019
Racial distribution in Buffalo in 2010: Each dot represents 25 residents.
Temple Beth Zion
Kleinhans Music Hall
Buffalo wings with celery and blue cheese
The Albright–Knox Art Gallery, seen from Hoyt Lake in Delaware Park
Tifft Nature Preserve
Looking down Canalside’s Central Wharf
Common Council Chamber, Buffalo City Hall
The Buffalo News headquarters
City Honors School
The quad at Buffalo State College
Reading Park at Buffalo's Central Library
Buffalo Metro Rail train at the Amherst Street station
Reddy Bikeshare at 250 Delaware Avenue

Buffalo is also known for its winter weather, Buffalo wings, and two major-league sports teams: the National Football League's Buffalo Bills and the National Hockey League's Buffalo Sabres.

Great Salt Lake

Largest saltwater lake in the Western Hemisphere and the eighth-largest terminal lake in the world.

Satellite photo from August 2018 after years of drought, reaching near-record lows. Note the difference in colors between the northern and southern portions of the lake, the result of a railroad causeway.
Map of Pleistocene lakes in the Great Basin of western North America, showing the path of the Bonneville Flood along the Snake River
Stansbury's 1852 map of the Great Salt Lake and adjacent country in the Utah Territory
Great Salt Lake from airspace over Salt Lake City
Color difference
Sunset viewed from White Rock Bay, on the western shore of Antelope Island. Carrington Island is visible in the distance.
Map of Great Salt Lake
a 576-year record of lake level
American avocets at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge
Mountains of the Great Salt Lake in winter.
Modern stromatolites (cyanobacteria) growing along the western shore of Antelope Island near Elephant Head.
Migratory birds on the Great Salt Lake
Solar evaporation ponds in the Northeast portion of the lake. Fremont Island is visible to the South (top of image)
The original Saltair, c. 1900
Garfield Beach Resort, 1888
Robert Smithson's Spiral Jetty

It lies in the northern part of the U.S. state of Utah and has a substantial impact upon the local climate, particularly through lake-effect snow.

Marquette, Michigan

City in Marquette County in the U.S. state of Michigan.

Statue of Jacques Marquette in Marquette
St. Peter Cathedral
Lake Superior shoreline at Presque Isle Park in July
The Superior Dome
The Presque Isle Harbor Ore Dock, an ore pocket dock, was built in 1912. Trains drop ore into the dock. Then chutes on the side of the dock lower to spill the ore into ships. Shown docked in the photo are the MV Lee A. Tregurtha (near) and the MV Kaye E. Barker (far).
The Marquette County Courthouse was used for the courtroom scenes in the film Anatomy of a Murder.

Being located in the snowbelt region, Marquette receives a significant amount of snowfall during the winter months, mostly from lake-effect snow.

Northern Michigan

Region of the U.S. state of Michigan.

Northern Michigan is at the northern tip of Michigan's Lower Peninsula.
Traverse City, the largest city in Northern Michigan
Alpena County Courthouse in Alpena, the region's second largest city
Wexford County Courthouse in Cadillac, the third largest city in Northern Michigan
The Manistee River in Manistee, the fourth-largest city in the region.
After taking refuge at Michilimackinac during the Beaver Wars, many Wyandot (Huron) migrated to the areas of Detroit, Windsor, and northern Ohio in the early 18th century.
The 1835 Tourist's Pocket Map of Michigan by S. Augustus Mitchell shows the relatively undeveloped Northern Michigan even as a steamboat route operated between Detroit and Chicago via Michilimackinac.
This inset image from the 1835 Tourist's Pocket Map of Michigan lists the stops taken along the 980-mile steamboat route between Detroit and Chicago via Michilimackinac. Northern Michigan stops (between miles 197 and 519) included Thunder Bay Isles, Sandy Bay Islands, Presqu' Isle, Bois Blanc Island, Mackinac Island, and Beaver Island.
From 1836 to 1848, much of the Manistee River Valley, including Manistee itself, was an Ottawa Reservation. During the lumbering era of the late 1800s, Manistee became a significant site for lumber mills. Huge numbers of white pine logs were floated down the river to the port at Manistee and eventually on to the lumber markets of Grand Rapids, Milwaukee and Chicago.
Passenger pigeons were hunted to extinction sometime after the 1870s, with the last large nesting in Petoskey, Michigan, in 1878.
After being used for floating logs in previous decades, the Au Sable River in the 1880s became famous for fishing – first for grayling, and later for brook trout and brown trout.
Lumbering practices destroyed Arctic Grayling breeding grounds in rivers and led to their slow decline, and the sport fishing industry also contributed to the grayling's eventual disappearance from Northern Michigan.
As the lumber industry declined, rail lines such as the BCG & A Railroad (1915) helped to access remote inland tracts of timber.
This map of hardiness zones demonstrates Northern Michigan's temperature extremes compared to the southern half of the lower peninsula. Most Michigan fruit sites are in Zone 5 or 6, making the Leelanau Peninsula and Grand Traverse Bay area uniquely conducive to cherries and other fruit trees.
Antrim Shale reserves in northern Michigan
US-131 (in red), US-23 (in orange), and I-75 (in blue) are three primary highways bringing downstate automobile traffic to Northern Michigan.
The SS Badger connects the Wisconsin and Michigan segments of US 10
The Grandview Parkway in Traverse City serves as a bypass of downtown, and, in total, carries four different highways along its length: US-31, M-22, M-37, & M-72
Extent of the Laurentian Mixed Forest nearly coincides with Northern Michigan

Lake effect weather brings significant snowfalls to snow belt areas of Northern Michigan.

Muskegon, Michigan

City in the U.S. state of Michigan.

The entrance to Muskegon Lake from Lake Michigan at Muskegon, Michigan
The United States Post Office in Muskegon, 1904
USS Silversides (SS-236) at The USS Silversides Submarine Museum, Muskegon, Michigan
Muskegon Break Water Light on Lake Michigan, looking from Pere Marquette Beach
GVSU Muskegon Innovation Hub
Charles Hackley House

Muskegon receives heavy lake-effect snow from Lake Michigan during winter time.