Cold Triggering Heavy Lake-Effect Snow This Weekend

By Brian Lada, Meteorologist
November 24, 2013; 3:59 AM ET
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A shot of frigid, arctic air moving over the Great Lakes is triggering lake-effect snow downwind of the lakes this weekend.

The combination of strong winds and lake-effect snow will continue to lead to travel disruptions around Great Lakes through Sunday, causing headaches for early holiday travelers.

Some cities that may see flight delays, slippery roads, and other travel disruptions due to the wind and snow include Cleveland, Erie, Pa., Syracuse, N.Y., Traverse City, Mich., and London, Ontario.

"This will be a powdery snow," Chief Meteorologist Elliot Abrams said. "Snow showers will coat the mountains with a feathery snow."

Locations that will receive the most snow this weekend will be near the lakes and in the higher elevations of western Pennsylvania.

"This will be the most snow these areas have seen all year," Abrams said.

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In the most intense bands of lake-effect snow, whiteout conditions can occur for a time.

Lake-effect snow develops when very cold air blows over the comparatively warm waters of the lake. This causes the air to pile up and rise, resulting in the formation of snow showers downwind of the lakes.

In some cases, bands of lake-effect snow can continue to dump snow over the same area over a period of several hours, resulting in snow accumulations of up to a foot and sometimes even more.


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