Monday, January 21, 2013

How Much Lake Effect Next 2 Days?

Snow in Geneva - Rt 20
Science is harder to understand than buying into conspiracy theories or old wives' tales.
People like a good narrative versus unbiased science or weather explanations on why forecasts are difficult. Stories are easier to digest. Science is not. People feel conflicted with science so they grasp unsubstantiated theories or stories to make them feel at ease. That's my psychology 101 lesson of the day. :) Quiz tomorrow...

Such is the case with Lake Effect Snow. The science of lake effect is well documented. Yet the official forecasts are riddled with ranges like 8-12" or 7-14". These type of ranges are not what the public wants. They want certainty. They want something cut-and-dry. They want exact numbers for their town. Most times, its not possible. Lake Effect Forecasts are a mix of science w/ alot of uncertainty; randomness and a dash of art! Or as a colleague of mine once said: "Its like nailing Jello to a wall." 


We already looked at the different variables that go into lake effect snow prediction in my previous post. The one element that really stands out Tuesday is the difference between the 5000 foot level and the lake water temperature. Once the difference gets above 13 degrees (in celsius), the amount of lift/evaporation becomes significant enough to create lake effect snow  Tomorrow, the difference hits 28!  Back in January of 2009, we had a similar situation regarding the cold air aloft.

What was the high that day? How about 6

Light snow in Carollton, Ohio Monday morning
The heaviest and more widespread lake effect snow will develop this evening, tonight and tomorrow as the coldest air in 4 years moves across the area! Here are the headlines:

* Expect to hear some thunder tomorrow *
* Wind Chill will drop to 10 below! *

The winds will shift from the WSW to the WNW tonight and tomorrow which will shift any lake effect snow south. Some areas that need to be watched are LORAIN, WESTLAKE and southern CUYAHOGA COUNTY. The second map shows the TOTAL accumulations from today through early Wednesday. Most of this will fall late tonight and TUESDAY.

Pockets of lake effect mainly east today as winds are out of the west and WSW. Not much accumulation south of inch or two. Temps stay around 20 with wind chills in the single digits. Here are accumulations for TODAY ONLY

More updates as needed!

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