Lake Effect – What We’ve Seen So Far

Jamestown – Lakes Erie and Ontario have given Western New Yorkers a Christmas present of their own; heavy lake effect snow.


Overall snowfall reports from the Southern Tier are a bit thin at this time, but we have had a couple reports come in from the National Weather Service in Buffalo this evening. The newest total we have at this time from Chautauqua County, is a 7:00 PM measurement of 6.2 inches in Silver Creek. The Weather Service also relayed to us a 10:10 PM measurement in Cattaraugus County of 23 inches in Perrysburg. Meanwhile, the Weather Service in Cleveland has relayed a 24-hour snowfall total at the Erie International Airport of 21-inches at 7:00 PM, along with a spotter total of 24 inches in Harborcreek. Erie has also set a new record for the whitest Christmas on record, shattering the old snowfall record for December 25th of 8.1 inches, set back in 2002.


With its near 3-inch-per-hour snowfall rate and whiteout conditions, the lake band also made driving very dangerous Monday afternoon and evening, with multiple wrecks being reported from around the region. The town of Hanover in extreme northern

 Chautauqua County has issued a mandatory Travel Ban due to the intense nature of the lake effect band. 


What To Expect Next: The lake effect band has been on a slow jog back down to the south, after moving north early on Monday. The band could still produce snowfall rates of 1 to 3 inches per hour, along with near whiteout conditions from the heavy snow, along with blowing and drifting snow. We are still expecting the band to loose its moisture source later on Tuesday, which will result in the band weakening, with snowfall rates likely cut in half. However, upper-air dynamics still seem robust enough to keep the band alive through mid Wednesday, alias a much weaker partisan of its former self.