Thursday, November 20, 2008

Fearing the punishing belt!

It's snowing like mad again. They say we may get some serious Lake Effect snow today and tonight. Lake-effect snow is produced in the winter when cold winds move across long expanses of warmer lake water, providing energy and picking up water vapor which freezes and is deposited on the lee shores. The effect is enhanced when the moving air mass is uplifted by the orographic effect of higher elevations on the downwind shores. This uplifting can produce narrow, but very intense bands of precipitation, which deposit at a rate of many inches of snow each hour and often bringing copious snowfall totals. The areas affected by lake-effect snow are called snowbelts. This effect occurs in many locations throughout the world, but is best known in the populated areas of the Great Lakes of North America. We live close to Lake Eire so we feel this effect frequently and often get more than Buffalo. Buffalo makes the news because its a major urban center. They don't pay much attention to us in Chautauqua County because the population is low in comparison. For more on this see the Channel 4 Buffalo weather Blog.

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