WeatherSevere Weather Awareness


What is lake effect snow?

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Posted at 3:13 PM, Nov 19, 2023

We in Northeast Ohio are one of a few places in the entire world that has significant Lake Effect Snow, as the formation takes some special circumstances to drop inches to feet of snow in mere hours!

A crash course version: First thing first, we need a “fetch” or length of open water for the cold air to flow over, which must be around 100 kilometers or longer to get heavier snow bands to form.

The next is the difference between the lake temperature and the air flowing over it. The difference must be 13 degrees Celsius or colder between the lake temperature and the air around 5,000 feet above it.

Lastly, the speed of the winds needs to be 10 to 45 mph; any slower or faster and the wind cannot get the proper moisture to create snow bands.

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