The latest on lake effect...(1-21-13)

<B>(9:00 pm Monday January 21st)</B>Lake effect has already pounded parts of central New York and it looks like there is more to come. Here is what's going on behind the scenes to impact where the snow might head.
If you have been on our web site you’ve probably gotten some idea of what to expect over the next 24 hours with lake effect.  I’m going to take a few minutes to try and go into some more detail as to what to watch out for. If you are looking for our latest snowfall forecast map, click here.

Monday was an interesting day.  As I mentioned in my blog from yesterday, it looked like there wouldn’t be much lake effect around during the day as our wind field in the lower atmosphere would be pretty light.  We were waiting for low pressure to track through the region.  Instead of coming through at night it came through with some steady snow during the afternoon and early evening.  I thought there might be some spots that might get more than 4” and that seemed to be the case. One of our DeRuyter weather watchers reported 7” of snow.  For skiers, that is potentially very good news as DeRuyter is close to three of the major downhill ski areas in central New York.

With this low off to our east, a reinforcing shot of cold air is going to move in and, more importantly, our winds will pick up.  We are already seeing the effects of this as lake effect is trying to form along the east end of Lake Ontario.  It hasn’t moved too far inland as of 8:30 pm as the winds are not yet too strong.  It may still be a few hours until things can get better organized.  I have been looking at the weather maps this evening and I may be reading too much into things but I see there is a weak jet stream disturbance tracking into western New York.  Here is what it looks like on the late afternoon NAM computer model.  I’ve tried to highlight where this disturbance is going to be around 10 pm Monday night:

This disturbance is forecast to pass through central New York around midnight and may keep our main band of snow from getting to organized through that time. There may be some heavier burst of snow but nothing like a solid band of 'yellow' on the radar.  I’ve even seen some of our newer computer model data this evening trying to bring a few squalls south toward Syracuse. Once this disturbance moves through, the winds will become better aligned out of the west and things should get better organized for the second half of the night. That’s why it can be so tough to forecast lake effect snow; any small feature in the atmosphere can impact wind direction and ultimately the position of any lake effect band. Again, the heaviest snow tonight will be north of Syracuse.

Winds will try to turn northwesterly during the day Tuesday which means any lake snow tries to move south close to Syracuse during the afternoon. The big question is whether the band will stay near Syracuse Tuesday night or whether it moves back just to our north (and hammers the same areas that got hit Sunday night).  There may be a few more disturbances coming down the pike (or in this case dropping through the Great Lakes) that will determine just how far south it goes,

That’s all for now.  Time to start getting ready for tonight’s 10 pm and 11 pm shows.  Make sure you tune in to see if there is anything new.
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