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Lake-effect snow cranking in Northeast this week

Several inches possible from parts of Upstate New York to northern New England

(Photo: New Hampshire DOT)

After severe storms and tornadoes Saturday damaged parts of the Northeast close to the coast (Long Island and southern New England), lake-effect snow cranked up Sunday across interior portions of the region on the back side of a clipper system.

Related: 5 states with toughest chain laws for truckers

Official airport snow amounts ranged from 2.7 inches in Youngstown, Ohio, to 1 inch in Cleveland and only a half inch in Buffalo. This was the first accumulating snow of the season for these areas, coming several days later than the average first snow. However, it was just a preview, with more to come the next couple of days.

Great Lakes water temperatures are still running well above average, which can lead to robust lake-effect snow showers as northwest winds sweep in behind the clipper system. As the colder air continues to work southeastward, more areas will receive potential snow Monday, including Erie, Pennsylvania; Buffalo and Syracuse, New York; and Montpelier and Burlington, Vermont.

Even though the air mass will be quite cold and many locations could receive 4 to 8 inches of snow, this will not be the case in all areas where snow falls. Due to the abnormally warm lakes, some places along the immediate shores can expect a cold rain to mix with the snow at times.

In addition, most temperatures over land Monday afternoon will rise above freezing. Therefore, much of the accumulation that could cause slippery roads will be restricted to Monday morning. Even where snow falls all day, some melting may occur.

Lake-effect snow may linger into Tuesday in the eastern Great Lakes, with warmer weather arriving by midweek. However, colder air will return by the end of the week, and lake-effect snow may return by Friday.

The National Weather Service has issued a winter weather advisory for northern parts of lower Michigan, including Gaylord and Houghton Lake, as well as northern Maine, including Presque Isle and Caribou. An additional 3 inches of snow could pile in these places by sundown Monday.

Major lanes of concern

• Interstate 75 from Gaylord to Maple Valley, Michigan.
• Interstate 90 from Erie to Buffalo and Syracuse.
• Interstate 81 from Watertown, New York, to just north of Binghamton, New York. 
• Interstate 87 from Plattsburgh, New York, to just north of Albany, New York.
• Interstate 89 from Montpelier to the Vermont-Canada border.

Drivers may hit freezing drizzle and icy spots along Interstate 29 from Grand Forks, North Dakota, to southern Manitoba, Canada.

Other notable weekend weather

Look for more periods of heavy valley rain and mountain snow Monday and Tuesday in the Northwest. Flooding, landslides and road closures are possible along parts of Interstates 5, 84 and 90.

Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Nick Austin.

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One Comment

  1. Michael B Hardy

    I was looking at your post on Lake Effect Snow.

    I live in the Great Lakes area and wrote an extensive article entitled 14 Areas Around the Great Lakes With High Lake Effect Snow – How Does it Happen

    You might find some information and resources to give your readers more background on just how much snow we get here around the Great Lakes. I hope you will consider it.


Comments are closed.

Nick Austin

Nick is a meteorologist with 20 years of forecasting and broadcasting experience. He was nominated for a Midsouth Emmy for his coverage during a 2008 western Tennessee tornado outbreak. He received his Bachelor of Science in Meteorology from Florida State University, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Management from the Georgia Tech. Nick is a member of the American Meteorological Society and National Weather Association. As a member of the weather team at WBBJ-TV in Jackson, Tennessee, Nick was nominated for a Mid-South Emmy for live coverage of a major tornado outbreak in February 2008. As part of the weather team at WRCB-TV in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Nick shared the Chattanooga Times-Free Press Best of the Best award for “Best Weather Team” eight consecutive years.