Ask Storm Team 11: Lake effect snow and ice cover

Weather

(WJHL)- Tuesday’s Ask Storm Team 11 question comes from Coby LeAnne. They asked: “Since most of the Great Lakes remain unfrozen, why haven’t we seen much lake effect snow this season?”

Coby, it’s simply been too warm over the eastern half of the country. Buffalo, New York just had its warmest January since 2006.

Lake effect snow forms when the water is much warmer than the surrounding air. Wind rides over the lakes and the colder air warms up. That warmer air creates lift and rises along with the moisture from the lake and you get clouds to form. Clouds and moisture move over the colder air on land and snow occurs.

Since December 1, snow totals are generally much lower than average across this region. Some cities like Buffalo, Rochester, and Cleveland have only seen half of what they normally see.

Marquette, Michigan, near the Canadian border, is the exception. They’re above average at 100 inches and counting so far this season. 

Have a question for Storm Team 11? Click here to submit!

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