A look back: Snow leaves Cleveland gridlocked

Posted at 12:20 AM, Dec 09, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-09 00:20:57-05

On Dec. 8, 2010, a sneaky lake effect snow squall swung into downtown Cleveland and dumped heavy snow across the city just in time for the afternoon rush hour.

The result: absolute gridlock!

The squall developed during the late morning hours that day and was roughly 5 to 7 miles wide. It set down a narrow band of heavy snow from Downtown Cleveland east into Chester Township in Central Geauga County. This is the squall at 5 p.m., Dec. 10. Notice the heavy band oriented west to east over Lake Erie, sliding onshore right over Downtown Cleveland. The heaviest portion of the band then slides east over I-271 into Geauga County.

By the afternoon rush hour, 6 to 8 inches had accumulated in Downtown Cleveland. Travel out of downtown was slowed to a crawl. A normal 20-minute commute into nearby suburbs took 2 to 3 hours. Every major artery in and out of Downtown Cleveland was slowed to a crawl. This seriously hindered road crews from clearing and salting any snow until traffic cleared well after 7 p.m. 

The snow tapered off quickly during the evening hours. But, when all was said and done, downtown measured between 6 & 10 inches of snow during this surprise lake effect snow squall.


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