Lake effect snow will have a harder time being organized on Friday, resulting in smaller snow flakes and less accumulation.
Friday Forecast Update
Lake Effect snow has developed northeast of the Great Lakes overnight, as was expected. The forecast from yesterday remains unchanged for Thursday during the daytime and evening hours, but Friday’s expectations are changing.
As we draw closer to Friday, subtle changes in the expected atmospheric conditions are resulting in some big swings in the forecast. This is why I always stress the uncertainties that are inherent in lake effect snow prediction even 48 hours in advance.
The major reason for the change in snow totals is the amount of moisture in the atmosphere, and where that moisture is located.
Originally, large amounts of moisture were expected to coincide with temperatures in the atmosphere primed for snowflake growth. This would have resulting in large snowflakes that would accumulate quickly, as was the case in the late November lake effect snow event.
However, the overall amount of moisture is expected to be less, which will in turn result in smaller snowflake sizes. The smaller snowflakes will not accumulate as fast, so accumulations have been cut significantly.
Furthermore, there is greater confidence in the position of the lake effect snow bands. Instead of a large area of moderate to heavy lake effect on Friday, the lake effect will most likely get split up.
During the morning hours, a narrow band will extend from the western Finger Lakes into southern areas, while areas further northeast see flurries, if any snow.
By late morning, that band will fall apart and lake effect will redevelop over the northeaster Finger Lakes. This lake effect does not appear to be terribly well organized, which further reduces expectations.
Lake effect snow is a very unique, complex and sensitive weather phenomenon. No one likes to see big changes to a forecast, but it is inevitable from time to time. Please continue to monitor the forecast and be safe.
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