Winter Weather Forecasting throughout the Eastern United States. Part IV: Lake Effect Snow

Thomas A. Niziol NOAA, NWS Forecast Office, Buffalo, New York

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Warren R. Snyder NOAA, NWS Forecast Office, Albany, New York

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Jeff S. Waldstreicher NOAA, NWS Eastern Region Headquarters, Scientific Services Division, Bohemia, New York

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Abstract

This article is the final installment of a four-part series that examines the challenge of forecasting winter weather throughout the eastern United States. This paper examines the problems and challenges of forecasting lake effect snows. The climatology of lake-induced snowfall is reviewed, and an overview of the characteristics and evolution of these mesoscale precipitation bands is presented. The atmospheric conditions associated with five different types of lake snow bands are discussed. The abilities of remote sensors to resolve, and dynamical models to simulate, these mesoscale events are also explored. Finally, several techniques designed to improve operational forecasts of lake effect snow are described in detail, along with representative case studies.

Abstract

This article is the final installment of a four-part series that examines the challenge of forecasting winter weather throughout the eastern United States. This paper examines the problems and challenges of forecasting lake effect snows. The climatology of lake-induced snowfall is reviewed, and an overview of the characteristics and evolution of these mesoscale precipitation bands is presented. The atmospheric conditions associated with five different types of lake snow bands are discussed. The abilities of remote sensors to resolve, and dynamical models to simulate, these mesoscale events are also explored. Finally, several techniques designed to improve operational forecasts of lake effect snow are described in detail, along with representative case studies.

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