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Historic Lake Effect Event?! 11/17-11/21


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All the ingredients are coming together for a potential historic lake effect snow event for the Buffalo Metro area and surrounding suburbs. The global models have been very consistent the last few days in dropping 4-6" of QPF over Central and Northern Erie county in the form of snow. Winter storm watches are already out for this event.

To think these are the exact dates from the historic event back in 2014 that dropped over 7 feet in 3 days across the area!

ImageImage

 

Save worthy forecast discussion from BUF

LONG TERM /THURSDAY NIGHT THROUGH MONDAY/...
...IMPACTFUL LAKE EFFECT SNOW STORM POSSIBLE THIS PERIOD...

No change in available model output and overall H85 and H5 pattern
for late this week into the weekend. There remains high confidence
that a prolonged southwest flow lake effect event will take place
during this period. A deep longwave trough...featuring a vertically
stacked low in the vicinity of Hudson Bay...will keep a flow of
seasonably cold air in place over the Lower Great Lakes through the
weekend to GUARANTEE a lake response. The `formula` for significant
lake snow will then come down to whether there is ample synoptic
moisture to work with...and of course the direction of the H85
steering flow. Consensus of both ensemble and deterministic guidance
packages are in fairly strong agreement of a southwest flow...but
placement of accumulating snow bands will have to be further defined
as the event nears. Continues to look like KBUF and KART metro areas
and their northern suburbs (at least for a time) are favored.

This event has some historical precedence, with CIPS analogs
comparing to Nov 20, 2000, when many became stranded in their
vehicles...or the twin storms that made `Snow-vember` infamous with
over five feet of snow? While at this point it is impossible to
suggest the same for the upcoming event...it is something to keep in
mind. Speaking of correlations...local studies from the KBUF office
does show some stark similarities in the synoptic pattern for these
larger events. The largest events have near stationary plumes of
snow...but it is still way too early to get that detailed.

In the wake of a passing shortwave ridge on Thursday...subtle
troughing embedded within in the larger scale longwave pattern will
produce a deep southwest flow of cold air across Lakes Erie and
Ontario. There is a suggestion that the flow will generally be 250-
260 Thursday evening...but with the lakes still relatively warm (nr
of abv 10c)...that flow could back some 10 deg over Lake Erie.
During the course of Thursday night and Friday...the flow is
forecast to back a bit...and this will send well organized lake snow
plumes across the Buffalo and Watertown metro areas and potentially
into the northern suburbs. Again, placement of these bands will
depend on the exact H85 flow...but a southwest (240-250) flow is
being favored by guidance at this time. Given the expected presence
of moisture up to arnd H7...snowfall rates of 1-2"/hr is becoming
more plausible. Details still have to be refined, but there was
enough signal and consistency in model guidance to issue winter
storm watches Thursday evening through Sunday evening for a
potential high impact, long duration lake snow event. If winds back
further for longer period of time, then Niagara and Orleans counties
would need to be put in a watch as well. Those details can be sorted
out next couple days though.

While the steering flow will likely oscillate somewhat during the
course of the weekend and into early next week...a cold southwest
flow is mainly what is being shown by most of the guidance packages.
This would keep lake snows in place to the northeast of both lakes
with additional significant accumulations possible at times even
beyond when initial watch ends.

GFS

qpf_acc.us_ne.png

sn10_acc.us_ne.png

GEM

qpf_acc.us_ne.png

sn10_acc.us_ne.png

Euro

qpf_acc.us_ne.png

sn10_acc.us_ne.png

UK

sn10_acc.us_ne.png

qpf_acc.us_ne.png

The CIPS analogs for this system have many of this regions biggest LES events

https://www.eas.slu.edu/CIPS/ANALOG/DFHR.php?reg=EC&fhr=F084&rundt=2022111412&map=thbCOOP72

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Thursday
Snow showers likely before 1pm, then rain and snow showers likely. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 38. Chance of precipitation is 60%.
Thursday Night
Snow showers. Low around 27. Chance of precipitation is 90%.
Friday
Snow. The snow could be heavy at times. High near 33. Chance of precipitation is 90%.
Friday Night
Snow. The snow could be heavy at times. Low around 20. Chance of precipitation is 90%.
Saturday
Snow. The snow could be heavy at times. High near 29. Chance of precipitation is 90%.
Saturday Night
Snow. The snow could be heavy at times. Low around 21. Chance of precipitation is 80%.
Sunday
Snow. The snow could be heavy at times. High near 29. Chance of precipitation is 80%.
Sunday Night
Snow. The snow could be heavy at times. Low around 21. Chance of precipitation is 80%.
Monday
A chance of snow showers. Mostly sunny, with a high near 32. Chance of precipitation is 40%.
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URGENT - WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
National Weather Service Buffalo NY
1027 PM EST Mon Nov 14 2022

NYZ010>012-085-151130-
/O.CON.KBUF.WS.A.0011.221118T0000Z-221121T0000Z/
Northern Erie-Genesee-Wyoming-Southern Erie-
Including the cities of Buffalo, Batavia, Warsaw, Orchard Park,
and Springville
1027 PM EST Mon Nov 14 2022

...WINTER STORM WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM THURSDAY EVENING
THROUGH SUNDAY EVENING...

* WHAT...Heavy lake effect snow possible. Total snow accumulations
  in a long duration event of 1 to 2 feet or more are possible in
  the most persistent lake snows.

* WHERE...Erie, Genesee, and Wyoming counties.

* WHEN...From Thursday evening through Sunday evening.

* IMPACTS...The potential remains for a significant long duration
  lake effect snow event Thursday night through much of the
  weekend. There is still considerable uncertainty in exact band
  placement and amounts, but multiple periods of heavy snow are
  possible, including across the Buffalo metro area.
NYZ007-151130-
/O.CON.KBUF.WS.A.0011.221118T0000Z-221121T0000Z/
Jefferson-
Including the city of Watertown
1027 PM EST Mon Nov 14 2022

...WINTER STORM WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM THURSDAY EVENING
THROUGH SUNDAY EVENING...

* WHAT...Heavy lake effect snow possible. Total snow accumulations
  in a long duration event of 1 to 2 feet or more are possible in
  the most persistent lake snows.

* WHERE...Jefferson county.

* WHEN...From Thursday evening through Sunday evening.

* IMPACTS...The potential remains for a significant long duration
  lake effect snow event later Thursday night into this weekend.
  There is still considerable uncertainty in exact band placement
  and amounts, but it is possible that multiple periods of heavy
  snow will occur across the Eastern Lake Ontario region,
  especially across Jefferson County, including the city of
  Watertown.
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Latest watch now calls for feet of snow!

...WINTER STORM WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM THURSDAY EVENING
THROUGH SUNDAY EVENING...

* WHAT...Heavy lake effect snow possible. Total snow accumulations
  in this long duration event of MULTIPLE feet will be possible
  in the most persistent lake snows.

* WHERE...Northern Erie, Genesee, and Wyoming counties.

* WHEN...From Thursday evening through Sunday evening.

* IMPACTS...Travel could be very difficult to impossible. There is
  still uncertainty in the exact band placement and amounts, but
  multiple periods of heavy snow are possible, including across
  the heart of the Buffalo metro area.
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Also calls the event crippling!

.LONG TERM /THURSDAY NIGHT THROUGH MONDAY/...
...CRIPPLING LAKE EFFECT SNOW STORM POSSIBLE THIS PERIOD...

No change in available model output and overall H85 and H5 pattern
for late this week into the weekend. There remains high confidence
that a prolonged southwest flow lake effect event will take place
during this period. A deep longwave trough...featuring a vertically
stacked low in the vicinity of Hudson Bay...will keep a flow of
seasonably cold air in place over the Lower Great Lakes through the
weekend to GUARANTEE a lake response. The `formula` for significant
lake snow will then come down to whether there is ample synoptic
moisture to work with...and of course the direction of the H85
steering flow. Consensus of both ensemble and deterministic guidance
packages are in fairly strong agreement of a southwest flow...but
placement of accumulating snow bands will have to be further defined
as the event nears. Continues to look like KBUF and KART metro areas
and their northern suburbs (at least for a time) are favored.

This event has some historical precedence, with CIPS analogs
comparing to Nov 20, 2000, when many became stranded in their
vehicles...or the twin storms that made `Snow-vember` infamous with
over five feet of snow? While at this point it is impossible to
suggest the same for the upcoming event...it is something to keep in
mind. Speaking of correlations...local studies from the KBUF office
does show some stark similarities in the synoptic pattern for these
larger events. The largest events have near stationary plumes of
snow...but it is still way too early to get that detailed.

In the wake of a passing shortwave ridge on Thursday...subtle
troughing embedded within in the larger scale longwave pattern will
produce a deep southwest flow of cold air across Lakes Erie and
Ontario. There is a suggestion that the flow will generally be 250-
260 Thursday evening...but with the lakes still relatively warm (nr
of abv 10c)...that flow could back some 10 deg over Lake Erie.
During the course of Thursday night and Friday...the flow is
forecast to back a bit...and this will send well organized lake snow
plumes across the Buffalo and Watertown metro areas and potentially
into the northern suburbs. Again, placement of these bands will
depend on the exact H85 flow...but a southwest (240-250) flow is
being favored by guidance at this time. Given the expected presence
of moisture up to arnd H7...snowfall rates of 1-2"/hr is becoming
more plausible. Details still have to be refined, but there was
enough signal and consistency in model guidance to issue winter
storm watches Thursday evening through Sunday evening for a
potential high impact, long duration lake snow event. If winds back
further for longer period of time, then Niagara and Orleans counties
would need to be put in a watch as well. Those details can be sorted
out next couple days though.

While the steering flow will likely oscillate somewhat during the
course of the weekend and into early next week...a cold southwest
flow is mainly what is being shown by most of the guidance packages.
This would keep lake snows in place to the northeast of both lakes
with additional significant accumulations possible at times even
beyond when initial watch ends.
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Thursday
A chance of rain and snow showers before noon, then a chance of rain showers between noon and 5pm. 
Thursday Night
A chance of rain and snow showers before 7pm, then snow. The snow could be heavy at times. Low around 26. Chance of precipitation is 90%. 
Friday
Snow. The snow could be heavy at times. Some thunder is also possible. High near 34. Chance of precipitation is 90%.
Friday Night
Snow. The snow could be heavy at times. Some thunder is also possible. Low around 20. Chance of precipitation is 90%.
Saturday
Snow. The snow could be heavy at times. Some thunder is also possible. High near 30. Chance of precipitation is 90%.
Saturday Night
Snow. The snow could be heavy at times. Low around 21. Chance of precipitation is 80%.
Sunday
Snow. The snow could be heavy at times. High near 31. Chance of precipitation is 80%.
Sunday Night
Snow. The snow could be heavy at times. Low around 20. Chance of precipitation is 80%.
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16 minutes ago, katabatic said:

I’m going to be chasing from Maryland…if there are folks meeting up (hotel etc), let me know. PM me if you get a sec. 

I can't get to this one...Which is always going to be a challenge because you can't plan for these kinds of things!  This would be the one I would want to go after, though.

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I moved to Albany, NY recently. I'm very tempted to film/experience this event.

Will definitely wait to decide until the mesoscale models are within range (to decide upon a location - more interest near the Buffalo area), but I can see why you're excited for this one.

In my opinion, predicting the occurrence/severity of LES is easy: In a nutshell - big, beautiful LES = cold air associated with a trough (accurate/easy to predict) + long duration/flow along the lake(s) (accurate/easy to predict) + warm lake (easy to observe). Mesoscale models should do a reasonable job here since they perform better with moisture flux and they have a better handle on topographic features (coastline and elevation, for example). Global models will do ok, but you really want NWP with a high resolution to make your forecasts with this one.

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7 minutes ago, MegaMike said:

I moved to Albany, NY recently. I'm very tempted to film/experience this event.

Will definitely wait to decide until the mesoscale models are within range (to decide upon a location - more interest near the Buffalo area), but I can see why you're excited for this one.

In my opinion, predicting the occurrence/severity of LES is easy: In a nutshell - big, beautiful LES = cold air associated with a trough (accurate/easy to predict) + long duration/flow along the lake(s) (accurate/easy to predict) + warm lake (easy to observe). Mesoscale models should do a reasonable job here since they perform better with moisture flux and they have a better handle on topographic features (coastline and elevation, for example). Global models will do ok, but you really want NWP with a high resolution to make your forecasts with this one.

In Albany itself? That's rough for snow. But glad to see more people in this area. Where are you from?

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Oh, I know :(. I lived in the Providence area which kinda' sucked too.

I'm in Latham if I had to be exact. Just by the airport. Any recommendations on what to do? I'm still exploring the area. 

Originally, I'm from MA, but I've lived in RI, CT, VT, NY, and NC over the past 10 years. It's been a crazy ride!

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31 minutes ago, NEOH said:

Enjoy the event. We will be watching from the sidelines in the Ohio snowbelt. The cold air will be going over some toasty water in the eastern basin -

 

e3.png

Don't worry you'll be getting yours soon too. I expect the beginning and end of this event when winds are WNW/W you'll have a good chance at some snow. 

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