December 14, 2010

'Lake effect' vs. 'Winter storm' do you SNOW the difference?

Posted: 07:23 AM ET

Lake effect snow, snow from a winter storm, what’s the difference? Absolutely none when it falls to the Earth. The only thing that is different is how the snow is formed. For Lake effect snow, all you need cold air blowing over a warmer water surface (has to be at least a 15 degree difference) for at least 15 miles. The bigger the temperature difference, the more fetch (length the wind travels over the water), and the longer the wind blows in the same direction, the more snow accumulates.

The cold, arctic air will continue to blow today through tomorrow over Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, so warnings are posted for the entire region. I think about 1-2’ is a good bet.

The arctic air extends down to Miami, with a wind chill warning this morning for them. Triple thong weather for South Beach (dress in layers!).

A developing storm for tomorrow is starting to come together in the Southern Planes, and that will spread sleet/freezing rain to the mid MS Valley Wednesday. I’ll have the advisories.

The Pacific NW is getting hammered with more valley rain and mountain snow, flood warnings are still up for the Puget Sound. Dense fog is a problem in San Diego, LA, and low clouds will slow you down at the San Francisco airport. I’ll have all those travel delays on the big, big show.


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T   December 14th, 2010 8:11 am ET

I cant believe Robin Meade just said that "Tennessee doesnt get much snow", dont get as much as places like New York,Michigan,Minnesota,Ohio...but here in Northeast Tennessee..we get SNOW...moreso than any southern state.

tom   December 14th, 2010 9:06 am ET

I SNOW the difference

Rachel   December 14th, 2010 12:52 pm ET

Hey Robin , Bob and gang,

We heard Bob say Southtowns today on his forecast. We did a double take because only people from the Buffalo, NY area know this term. We are out here in the Southtowns and it it COLD ..7 degrees today. We are looking forward to our lake effect snow today and tomorrow. Stay warm!!
Thanks for the shout out Bob!

Rachel T.

Martha   December 14th, 2010 6:10 pm ET

Plains is the correct word to be used.

Anne M.   December 16th, 2010 11:09 am ET

I grew up on Lake Superior and after living there for 18 years, I can tell you that whether it's lake effect snow or regular snow, it all shovels the same.

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Robin Meade
Delivering your dose of morning news, to get you out of bed and off to work.
Robin Meade
Bob Van Dillen
From tracking storms to airport delays, Bob is your weather and travel expert.
Bob Van Dillen
Jennifer Westhoven
Jennifer has the tips you need to take action on stories affecting your wallet.
Jennifer Westhoven