Did he say 'lake effect?' (8-13-12)
One sign that we are at the very least getting ready to transition into the Fall season is the shower activity that showed up on the radar screen this morning. Those were showers but not just any kind of showers, they were lake effect showers. Before you get too worked up, though, lake effect showers in August is not that unusual. In fact, I looked back at my blog archives from last summer and I was writing about lake effect showers at the same time last August. If anything, these showers are right on schedule. We all know that Lake Ontario is rather warm this summer. Looking at the latest average lake temperature we are up around +24 c. That’s actually down from a high of 25 c just a week or so ago.
The key to getting lake effect is getting a temperature difference aloft at 5,000 feet 13c cooler or more than the lake temperature. I was checking the 5,000 ft temperatures over us this morning and we were +11c, just cool enough to cause the showers.Of course that is going to get people worried that the warmer than normal lake (it has been above normal all year) is going to lead to more lake effect snow this coming winter. That is based on a couple assumptions. First, we are assuming that the lake temperature stays above normal through the fall into the early winter. That’s not a given. Second, even if the lake stays warm you need cold enough air aloft for lake effect snow. Last winter is a good case in point of what happens if we don’t get cold during the winter. In the graph up above you can see that lake was warm through the winter but there wasn’t much lake effect snow around. I can only recall one good lake effect event last January where Minetto and Fulton were hammered. There are a lot of variables that go into lake effect snow, not just the warm lake.So lets not jump to conclusions just yet about our lake effect potential for the winter of 2012-13. Just knowing our lake temperature is well above normal now, in mid August, is not enough information to make an accurate prediction.
Copyright 2012 Newport Television LLC All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.