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Lake Effect Snow

By | December 2010
Page 1 of 1
With the Copper Country winter just around the bend, many have asked the recurring question, “With such an above-average summer, are we due for more lake effect snow this winter?” I myself have pondered this question quite a bit and came to an unfortunate hypothesis of probably. Lake effect snow is produced when cold winter winds move across long expanses of warmer lake water. This provides energy for the winds, which pick up water vapor that freezes and is deposited in the higher terrains inland. Lucky for us, we live in an area around the Great Lakes that experiences some of the most lake effect snow around. This type of location is called a snow belt. As for the correlation between hot summers and snowy winters, I haven't been able to find any definitive data to say that this coming winter is going to be one for the record books. According to the Michigan Technological University web site the winter of 1978-1979 had the highest snowfall on record with a total of 355.90 inches even though, according to Weather Underground, there was an average summer temperature. But a few local residents still insist that we're due for a harsh winter,“The lake has never been this warm, we're in for a long winter this year.” said one local gentleman sitting in his bar stool at a local tavern. I myself have lived here in the Copper Country my whole life so I have gotten used to hearing the “old-timers” weather predictions almost daily, sometimes they're right and other times they're wrong. One can only assume that these predictions made by our wise local elders should have some sort of logical reasoning behind them. It just seems to make sense that warmer water throughout the winter months would provide more energy and water vapor to fuel our extreme winters. Also our lake effect snow machine tends to cut out once we get some ice on the lake so one would think that a warmer lake would mean less ice and in turn more snow producing months. For the most part people can...

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