FEBRUARY 10th, 2012 - Lake Effect Snow
Taken from NWS LOT:
"A strong cold front swept across region during the afternoon hours Friday with very cold air spilling into the region behind the front, ushered in by strong north winds. The very cold air moving over the unseasonably mild Lake Michigan waters proved to be an ideal set-up for the development of an intense lake effect snow band Friday evening into the wee hours of Saturday morning. The image below is a snap shot of the WSR-88D doppler radar picking up on the very intense lake effect snow band shortly after 11 PM Friday evening. The areas of dark blue and purple are where the radar was detecting extraordinarily heavy lake effect snow, with hourly accumulation rates nearing 4 inches per hour! In addition, it was at this time that the coastal weather station at Burns Harbor reported a wind gust to 52 knots (60 mph). Numerous reports indicated that the combination of the extremely heavy snow and very strong winds were producing white out conditions with visibilities less than 10 feet reported!! The band was so intense that there was even thunder and lightning reported with the snow, much like what occurred with the Groundhog Day blizzard last year."
This event was a very interesting one to observe and experience. Very mild temperatures have dominated the area all winter so any shot at cold, snow, or winter weather is very noteworthy. On this day a cold front came sweeping south with a very strong mid level wave setting the stage for intense snow fall along the front and just after. Temperatures were around the 40's until the front crashed in. When the front hit an intense band of heavy snow (2 inch per hour) slammed some areas before bitterly cold temperatures invaded. While our snow ended.... northerly winds set up a narrow but intense band of lake effect snowfall in NW IN dropping 4 to 5 inch per hour snows in some spots. One spot near Valparaiso, IN had an inch of snow in five minutes!
Just before I went to bed, I looked out my front window. It was such a bitterly cold night...so I wanted to see if I can snap a picture or two of the stars on such a crisp cloud-free night. It was then I noticed the band of lake effect snow so clearly visible (even at 3a) off to the east. From the NE horizon due south to the SE horizon was this low band of clouds. It was quite a sight! Needless to say I found my subject matter for the night! Only 3 of the 10 pictures came out as clear as can be. It is something I need to work on, but glad I captured what I did.