Lake Effect Snow Develops Behind A Strong Cold Front Today

Hello everyone!

Today’s most active weather will be located across the Northeast where a strong cold front is finishing it’s journey from coast to coast. Ahead of the front, unseasonably mild temperatures are being observed across New England, but the spring-like warmth is on borrowed time. The cold front will sweep offshore by this afternoon, with strong northwest winds developing behind it. Those northwest winds will be very important to the forecast for the Great Lakes region.

This HRRR forecast shows lake effect snow bands extending downwind from each of the Great Lakes tonight. Due to the Northwesterly wind direction, the bands off lakes Huron and Ontario will be the most intense, with lighter snow downwind of of the other lakes. Lake Effect snow is notoriously tricky to predict, and due to the narrow, intense nature of the banding features, one town may see 4-8″ while the next town over sees a dusting.

This county level forecast from the Swiss Super HD model shows how localized lake effect snow banding is. The model is forecasting the southern suburbs of Syracuse to see heavy bands of snow tonight, while the metro area itself sees mere flurries. An adjustment north of that band by just a few miles (literally!) would result in downtown Syracuse getting in on the heavy snow. If you live in areas downwind of the lakes, be prepared for heavy snow tonight, but don’t be shocked if it’s your neighbors that have to break out the shovels tomorrow morning.

By tomorrow evening, the ECMWF forecasts snowfall amounts downwind of Huron, Ontario, and Erie to reach the 3-6″ range. Much heavier snow will fall associated with the storm system itself north of the border. Flurries will extend farther south and east into parts of the New England mountains.

Elsewhere across the country today, quiet weather is expected outside of the far northwestern part of Washington state where rain and high mountain snow will be falling on the southern fringe of a Pacific storm.

For more information about your local forecast:

For more information about the local forecast for ME/NH:


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  1. Brad Timerson 11/19/2017

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