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Lake Effect Snow

The lake effect snow explained in a simple video showing the major areas of the Great Lakes region where this type of weather pattern prevails. This pattern occurs when snow falling on the lee side of a lake, generated by cold dry air passing over warmer water, especially in the Great Lakes region.

How Lake Effect Snow Forms

Lake Effect Snow
Lake Effect Snow – From NOAA

The cold dry air, often originating from the west and Canada, moves across the open waters of the Great Lakes. As the cold air passes over the unfrozen relatively warm waters of the Great Lakes, warmth and moisture are transferred into the lowest portion of the atmosphere. The air rises, clouds form and grow into narrow band that produces 2 to 3 inches of snow per hour or more.

Wind direction is also and indicator on will receive lake effect snow. For example, heavy snow may be falling in Caseville, while the sun may be shining in Bad Axe. The physical barrier that Sand Point represents also has some impact on weather patterns on south shore of Saginaw Bay.


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Mike Hardy

Author of a fun loving and event blog covering topics of the Upper Thumb of Michigan , the wind energy capital of the Great Lakes. Offering great trove of information on Wind Energy, Cheeseburger in Caseville, Saginaw Bay, Sailing.

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