Why was it the west side that got buried by snow Thursday morning?

Posted at 11:37 AM, Dec 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-15 11:42:52-05

Many on the West of side of Cleveland woke up to a snowy mess Thursday morning. Reports of six to eight inches of snow falling in less than 12 hours. Seven inches in Lakewood, nearly six inches outside of Rocky River.
The heavy lake effect snow is typically reserved for those on the East side of the CLE. So what happened? Why did the West side get the brunt of this one? It's all about the wind flow.

Late Wednesday evening, the radar returns already suggest a "U" shape was forming, indicating the wind was turning more toward the Northwest.


By 2 a.m. the wind was coming from the Northwest and that helped pull the snowband more to the West of downtown Cleveland. From there, it was all downhill.



Once the band got going, there was nothing to push it back East. So with the cold Arctic air blowing across Lake Erie, the lake effect snow machine was in full force.

Part of the reason for the wind shifted to the West may be due in part to a strong area of high pressure that had setup over the central part of the country. That flow, coupled with the airflow to our North (over the Hudson Bay), gave us the Northwestly wind. In a sense, it helped to suck the snow band back West just enough.

In the end, this heavy snow band was only 15-20 miles more West than where the heavy bands typically show up. It just goes to show it only takes a little shift to make a large difference.