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All posts for the month February, 2008

Certainly an interesting weather day in the Great Lakes region. Several things to cover. I’ll break them apart into four sections with the highlights in case you don’t feel like reading everything.

1. Lake Ontario Snows – 50 inches in 24 hours!
2. Lake Erie Snows – Ice? Not a problem for Buffalo!
3. Hurricane Michigan? – What the heck is it?!
4. Lunar Eclipse update!

1. The tug hill got a pretty good plastering of lake effect, upwards of 50 inches reported in Pulaski in about a 24 hour period! That is just crazy! But then again what else would you expect in that area this time of year? Below is a link to the regional radar from the tug hill from 11pm Tuesday through 9am Wednesday. It is just amazing to watch that band dance back and forth across Oswego County like that!

http://www.weathermatrix.net/2008/0220/rp220osw-1.mov

Here is another link to a good closeup loop of the radar from the Pulaski area from 1130pm Tuesday through 930am Wednesday. No wonder they are reporting 50 inches with the looks of that band!

http://www.weathermatrix.net/2008/0220/rp220osw-1z.mov

2. Buffalo finally got into the lake effect game a little bit this season. A bit of a disapointment that the official measurement only hit 4.2 inches, but still it helps out in catching up to Rochester. The lake effect was a bit of a suprise for us and played havoc for the local meteos in trying to forcast the lake effect comming off an 80% frozen lake. Snowfall totals picked up rather sharply just 2-3 miles south of the airport where a swath of 9-12 inches fell, about 6-8 inches of which fell in an intesne overnight burst lasting about 3 hours. Certainly not impressive for lake effect snow, but considering a single small hole in the ice managed to result in this still moderate and fairly well organized activity is interesting to note. Had the lake been ice free this would have been a perfect setup to dump a hefty amount of snow onto the Buffalo area. Things get more interesting now though hopefully I don’t throw too much technical stuff I heard in too quickly. Since the lake was ice covered and not open water, the wind flow was actaully re-vectored shifting bands from where they would normally be expected. With the SW wind flow lake effect would normally setup in the city however the ice and wind convergenge actually resulted in bands and single convective cells to setup farther southward (more what you would see with a WSW-W wind flow) and then start to dance almost unpredictabily north and then south again. It also prevents a single band from gaining a prodomitie force comming off the lake and instead results in a multi-pronged feeder band effect which several times throughout the day kept merging into a single band then dying out in favor of more multi-bands. Another factor and something I learned from the NWS forcast discussion is that even if the lake is frozen lake effect, limited in nature of course, can still form if the conditions are right. I won’t try and explain this in my own words, a copy and paste from the Buffalo forcast regarding the events off Lake Erie should sufice…

“THIS HAS BEEN A FACINATING EVENT TO WATCH UNFOLD. LAKE ERIE IS ABOUT 80 PERCENT ICE COVERED…HOWEVER IT IS STILL ABLE TO GENERATE SIGNIFICANT LAKE EFFECT SNOW. CONTRARY TO POPULAR BELIEF…ICE COVER DOES NOT SHUT OFF LAKE EFFECT SNOW. THERE ARE TWO CONTRIBUTIONS OF HEAT FROM THE LAKE…SENSIBLE HEAT FLUX AND LATENT HEAT FLUX. ICE COVER SHUTS OFF THE LATENT HEAT FLUX AS WATER CAN NO LONGER EVAPORATE…HOWEVER THERE IS STILL SIGNIFICANT SENSIBLE HEAT FLUX THROUGH THIN ICE COVER VIA CONDUCTION. AN ARCTIC AIRMASS SUCH AS THIS CAN STILL BE MODIFIED SUFFICIENTLY TO PRODUCE A CONDITIONALLY UNSTABLE BOUNDARY LAYER AND BANDS OF LAKE EFFECT SNOW DESPITE THE ICE COVER. THE AMOUNT OF OPEN WATER ON THE LAKE IS NOT NEARLY AS RELAVENT AS THE ICE THICKNESS…WHICH UNFORTUNATELY CANNOT BE MEASURED REMOTELY.”

So I guess even with a frozen Lake Erie Buffalo still has a running chance in the contest! As with the Lake Ontario band here is a radar loop from the Buffalo area. It highlights the 2nd band that effected the area later in the evening from around midnight through 9am.

http://www.weathermatrix.net/2008/0220/rp220buf-1.mov

3. Well I thought my learning would have ended finding out decent lake effect could orgainze itself on a frozen lake, then this morning I was check radars around the Great Lakes region and I spotted this on the Grand Rapids, MI radar loop.

http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d32/smadsen8486/2.gif

The strangest looking band of lake effect I have ever seen, looks like a mini hurricane doesnt it?! So I shoot off some message board questions to explain what I was seeing. It turned out to be a “meso-low” or small scale area of low pressure that can give lake effect band those visible traits on the radar. From what I was told they are not common occurances, yet they are not overally rare either. A local meteo in Buffalo told me that they tend to form with light winds in strong artic air masses. A few people in the Michigan area also commented that these meso-lows can often bring some intense squall conditions. If summerof41 from the forum is on maybe he can tell us how the conditions where this morning as the meso-low squall looks to have came inland right around his neck of the woods. Here is an extended 4 and 1/2 hour radar loop of the band where you can really see the circulation on the leading edge of the band and even circulating convection around the center.

http://www.weathermatrix.net/2008/0220/rp220grr1.mov

While I thought this was something rare to see it didn’t take me long to hear from that another meso-low formed over Lake Huron not to long after the first one on Lake Michigan. Here is a close up of a much more defeined “eye” if you can call it that on what was dupped Hurricane Huron.

http://icons-pe.wunderground.com/data/wximagenew/m/MrSea/132.jpg?r=1203532488

Lastly here is a loop of the satellite images that shows both of these meso-lows together, you do have to look really close to spot them! The one on Lake Michigan formed first and then a frame or two after you can spot the one on Huron briefly before it comes inland in Ontario.

http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d32/smadsen8486/sat_ir_mw_loop-12.gif?t=1203573791

4. The Lunar Eclipse had a perfct skies here in the Buffalo area this evening. Certainly a fun sight to watch the moon being darkened and then turning red for about an hour and then just as quick going back to a white disc in the night sky. If anyone got any good pictures be sure to comment with a link or drop by the forum and share them with us! I was out snapping for a while but my camera probably didnt get anything good, I’ll have to check them out tomorrow.

Well if you’ve made it all the way to the bottom of this post, thanks for being a die-hard reader! No snow dance and 4 big weather related happenings all in one day, go figure!

Well I was going to hold off on making a second post until later this afternoon, as I have some interesting things to share but figured I would make a quick blurb for the total lunar eclipse tonight.

Hopefully the skies will clear and offer a view to any heading out or even just watching from the window. The eclipse will begin at 843pm tonight (Wednesday) and reach total eclipse at 1001pm. The total eclipse will last for 50 minutes with mid eclipse occuring at 1026pm. Following the end of the total eclipse at 1051pm the fading partial eclipse will still be visibile until 1209am. These times are all EST.

Enjoy!

At last! Something interesting weather-wise to get my hopes up for a little while. Also some hope for Buffalo to make a suprise strike upward in the standings. As I was getting ever closer to throwing the towel in for Buffalo, I will hold back for at least a little while longer. Although Lake Erie is about 85-90% ice covered it now appears that there is a big enough hole in the ice to let some limited lake effect get going with a cold SW wind flow. And I swear I wasn’t out this weekend breaking the ice, even though I had considered it. I’m also glad I held off on doing one last ditch snow dance. If only the lake was ice free… Buffalo would have gotten clobbered, a near perfect setup for Buffalo lake effect today.

However, it’s looking good that a band well get going for a while this evening somewhere near Buffalo. Been seeing quick on/off bursts most of the afternoon, but still nothing more than a dusting to a half inch so far. The NWS is calling for a 4-6 inch snowfall from the band tonight. A lot is going to depend if the band can get going with the limited open water, and on where the winds steer the band. But if Buffalo can sneak out 6 inches tonight from this band we would be in excellent shape once again to compete with the top dogs and inch ever closer to 2nd place.

Taking a look at the little open water left on Erie (the blue hole) it is pretty amazing any snow band could get going. We will have to see if Buffalo can step it up tonight!

Sean Kirst had an article out earlier in the season about how Syracuse may have been the snowiest city with a population of 100,000 or more not only in the United States but in all of North America last year according to Canadian climatologist David Phillips. Read the story here http://www.syracuse.com/articles/kirst/index.ssf?/base/business-11/1197453467227480.xml&coll=1

Well move over Syracuse because Madison, Wisconsin is winning the snowball fight this season so far and the chances are with the snow totals that Syracuse has to date there may be a couple of other big cities kicking our butts also. No need to panic yet though because there is still a lot of snow season ahead whether you want it or not. Average isn’t going to do it though and look at the stats above and you will see that Syracuse is dead on their average for this time into the snow season. Albany and Rochester are just tenths off their normal snowfall.

Right now Madison, Wisconsin has a snow total of 83.7 compared to Syracuse’s snow total of 81.6. From what I have heard this has been the snowiest season on record for Madison and snow is still in the forecast for them. If I were a betting man, which I am, my bet would be on Syracuse remaining the snow champs in the US for big cities. I think the 2 mayors should get together and make a little city bet for the fun of it. Milwaukee isn’t doing to bad either as far as snow totals go. They have over 76 inches so far this snow season.

OK, never-mind Madison the snow race is still pretty tight here in NY and Syracuse better worry about getting by the Golden Snowball cities first. Rochester is still well within striking distance of taking over the lead and Buffalo isn’t out of it yet. Add in the coastal storms and the weather coming from the south and that keeps Binghamton and Albany alive also. All I can do is hope that the weather pattern changes soon so we can get in on some of that snowfall to the west of us instead of this warm wintry mix and rain that has been coming from the south. Enough said and have a great day. Kids, enjoy your winter vacation!!!

Take a look at the 2006 – 2007 snow stats and at the average snowfall stats for this time of the season. I don’t think that this has been a normal season but by the snow totals for most of the Golden Snowball cities it sure has been average. Syracuse, Albany and Rochester are all within an inch of their normal snowfall for this date and Binghamton is just 5 inches off their normals. Buffalo has some catching up to do to get to their normal snow amounts but it’s within reach for them.

The other thing I have noticed is how much snow I have been adding to last years snowfall totals the last few days when updating the stats which means at this time last season all of us were getting some decent snow amounts. In the last 5 days for last years stats at this time of the year I’ve added around 29 inches for Syracuse, 24 inches for Rochester, 10 inches for Buffalo, 19 inches for Binghamton and 17 inches for Albany give or take a bit. So in other words it’s time to start piling up the snow. Bring It On!!! Umm, rain is in the forecast by the way :(

The Syracuse Orangemen played a great game yesterday beating Georgetown who I think was ranked #8 in the country and they looked good while doing it. The whole team looked good and Harris continued to step up as he has the last several games. He made a mistake late in the game and got a good chewing out for it by Bobby Knight Sr., oops, strike that, coach Jim Boeheim for going to the basket instead of taking the ball back out to kill some clock. This happened right before a commercial break and looking at Coach B’s eyes before the camera broke away my guess is it lasted into the commercial. For whatever reason that image bothered me and I thought to myself that Harris was playing a great game of pure hustle and the chances are that the reaming that the coach just gave him might take Paul’s head out of the game.

Well when the game came back on, Harris didn’t look as pumped as he was and he ended up fouling a a Georgetown player taking a 3 point shot which means he gets 3 free throws. Mind you this was with Georgetown making a come back. So two mistakes late in the game by Paul Harris but it didn’t end there. A 10 second violation was called against the Orangemen and poor Harris happen to be the one holding the ball. Sorry folks but blame that one on Flynn who constantly takes his time bringing the ball down court. He passed the ball to Harris who didn’t cross the half court with probably about 2 seconds left if that. Paul Harris came through big though through the whole game and especially at the end of the game when Georgetown started fouling us to stop the clock. Harris was the man being fouled and time after time he went to the line and knocked down the free throws missing I think only one of 6 (or 8) down the stretch.

Overall this was the team that we were getting use to seeing. A team where everyone contributes and everyone did yesterday. Arinze Onuaku stepped up and did what he should be doing every game. Consider this his coming out game because what you saw yesterday is what you are going to see from him the rest of the season.

NIT or NCAA? Way too early to talk about it I suppose but It’s not over until the fat man sings and I haven’t even started to hum yet. The S. Florida game hurt but the Georgetown game should make that a push. 5 more wins including a couple in the Big East tournament with the tough schedule they have ahead of them and they have a good shot at the NCAA tourney because we got robbed last year and they owe us. If not it’s the NIT and ya know what? Who cares because I just enjoy watching them. Thanks for the excitement guys, it’s appreciated here. OK, enough ranting. Have a super Sunday all.

Well whatever happened yesterday to keep me from posting has been fixed. The snowfall totals should be up to date. Binghamton was the champ for that last round of snow picking up a total of 6.1 the last couple of days. Here is how it ended up storm totals and then some if I did my math right.

Binghamton – 6.1
Syracuse – 5.0
Albany – 3.5
Rochester – 2.2
Buffalo – 1.1

It’s still close although Syracuse did put a little cushion between Rochester. I just took a look at the radar and it looks like there is some snow developing around Rochester so maybe they can get some of it back. Now to politics!

Is it me or is anyone else electioned out already and this is just the primary’s. Wait until the general election gets in full force. I’m not going to get into political views and never have here. This is just a fun site about snow. I’m just curious if it’s just me who is a national political junkie normally or are other people feeling that this election has been going on for like a decade already? Don’t get me wrong either. It is exciting I suppose but coverage 24/7 on most of the news stations is nuts and with it starting so early it’s even nuttier. How many times can people say the same thing. Better yet how many times can all the Guru’s be so wrong about how the primary’s will turn out and keep blah, blah, blah-ing about it. Enough already! Just show me the primary nights and keep it at that. Ut-oh, I’m doing what they are doing. Going on about politics. End of my ranting and enough said. Have a great weekend all.