Six Feet of Snow Buries Upstate New York Before Winter

Draw a big circle around the Great Lakes and then move on to something else. By the end of the week, most everything inside will be buried with snow

If you live in many areas of western New York, where the state’s Thruway has been closed, you may not see the ground again until spring. Snow is falling there by the foot
As of noon New York time yesterday, Lancaster, just east of Buffalo, had 4 feet (1.2 meters) of snow and another 22 inches was forecast to fall through today, said Steven Welch, a National Weather Service meteorologist in nearby Cheektowaga. There will then be a lull before the snow starts up again and another 1 to 2 feet may fall by the end of the week. Winter doesn’t begin in the Northern Hemisphere until Dec. 21

To this scope, it is pretty rare,” Welch said by telephone yesterday. “This is a pretty big event
Western New York isn’t the only place where piles of snow will result from storms around the lakes. Warnings, watches and winter storm advisories were posted from Wisconsin through Michigan and into Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York, according to the weather service
Parts of northern Indiana may get 15 inches, while totals in communities along Lake Ontario in upstate New York may reach 2 feet. The same amount may fall in northern Michigan
Parts of Ontario might see about 10 inches, Environment Canada said

Lake Erie

None of that will rival the shores of Lake Erie near Buffalo, which may have almost 6 feet on the ground before the snow starts all over again tonight
“Lake Erie is going to be the highlight of the event,” said Dan Peterson, a national forecaster at the U.S. Weather Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland. The winds and the warm waters of the lake have lined up perfectly, he said
Lake-effect snow occurs when cold air passes over comparatively warm lake water. The temperature of Lake Erie was 46 Fahrenheit (8 Celsius) yesterday, Welch said
With the wind coming from the southwest, the cold air had the chance to travel a long way across the surface of the lake before dropping the snow on the towns around Buffalo, Peterson said

So much snow fell that a section of the New York State Thruway was closed yesterday between Ripley, New York, near the border with Pennsylvania, and Rochester 139 miles (224 kilometers) away. A small stretch of the road into Pennsylvania was also closed
Another facet of lake-effect snow is how sharp the gradient can be between flurries and piles of snow
Welch said that in north Buffalo there were only 2 to 3 inches on the ground. Yet just a 15-minute car ride south found spots with more than 2 feet
It may take another two days before the snow finally lets up and the sun comes out. Anyone up for building a snowman
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