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11/18/2014

INCREDIBLE Lake Effect Blizzard Strikes NY!

While we've had to deal with some early season snow lately, it has been nothing like what the folks from around the Great Lakes has been dealing with.

Portions of Upstate New York have been getting literally buried beneath feet of snow!

UntitledFire Engine stuck in more than two feet of snow in South Buffalo - November 18, 2014.  Via @irisheaglle

Already with 2 to 3 feet of snow on the ground in South Buffalo, forecasters are calling for MUCH MORE before the snow comes to an end. 

The current Lake Effect snowband coming off of Lake Erie is particularly intense producing snowfall rates in excess of 4 inches per hour!!  

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This is what is looks like on Radar with the relatively narrow, but very intense band coming onshore just south of downtown Buffalo where it has been located since last night.

  GR 3

The persistence of this snow band along with the very intense snowfall rates are producing some astonishing totals.

Here's a video showing  the dangerous blizzard conditions in the heart of lake effect snow band on Lake Erie shoreline near Lackawanna, NY early this morning!

 

The National Weather Service in Buffalo is using some very strong wording to discourage travelers from venturing into the extremely heavy band of snow.

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When all is said and done, according to WGRZ (Buffalo's NBC Affiliate) parts of South Buffalo could be digging out from an incredible FIVE to SIX FEET of SNOW!!!

Snowmap

And once this current snowstorm comes to an end, anothe surge of arctic air is expected to bring more very heavy snow on Thursday!

Nws01

Simply incredible even for New York standards!!  Needless to say, it looks like our friends in the Northeast will be digging out from this one for quite some time to come.  

The Lake Effect snow bands show up well on the visible satellite image.

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Notice the two main bands over Lake Erie and Lake Ontario.  This is where the most intense snows have been occuring.  Also note all the other smaller bands surrounding the other Great Lakes.  

How can these lake effect snowstorms be so intense???

The four primary factors that determine the intensity of these types of snowstorms is wind speed, wind direction (fetch), water temperature and air temperature.  

Lake-effect-diagram

Wind strength and fetch, the length of lake the wind has to cross over before reaching land, help determine how much moisture the storm can pick up.  

The difference in water temperature and air temperature determines the amount of instability that occurs within these storms.  The greater the difference between these two, the greater the instability.  

This is the main reason the current storm is so bad because the water temperature over the Great Lakes is still relatively warm from the summer months.  And now with the arrival of a Siberian Arctic air mass blowing over it, the difference in temperature is extreme leading to extreme instability, hence the incredible snowfall rates.

Time Lapse Video of Lake Effect Snow Band in South Buffalo

 

Scene from earlier today in Hamburg, NY where 30 inches had already fallen

 

Btw, the record for most snow from a single storm in Buffalo is 81.5" (6.8 feet) set over a five-day period between December 23 and 28 in 2001.  The current storm is on track to threaten this record!  Insane!!

WDRB Meteorologist Jeremy Kappell

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