Lake-Effect Clouds/SnowDecember 12th, 2013 at 1:04 am by Bill Steffen under Bill's Blog, Weather
These are MODIS satellite pictures from Weds. Click on the pictures to enlarge (from MODIS and the UW-Madison Space Science and Engineering Center). You can see the lake-effect clouds streaming off Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, Lake Huron and even Lake Nipigon north of Lake Superior. The white you see in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa is snowcover. There is also a stripe of snow across southern Illinois into central and northern Indiana. In Wisconsin, shallow lakes like Lake Winnebago in Wisconsin are frozen over, while deeper lakes like Green Lake (which is deeper than Lake Erie!) and Geneva Lake have open water. The middle picture is Lake Michigan and the picture on the right is Lake Superior. You can see ice already starting to form in Green Bay and Big Bay de Noc. The high temperature map from Weds. shows very cold air from Wisconsin back toward the eastern Dakotas. High temperatures Weds. included just 5 at Green Ba, -11 at Fosston MN, -4 at Grand Forks ND and +3 at Waterloo IA. The persistent cold air crossing the lake has brought near constant cloud cover to W. Michigan. Over the last 9 days, Grand Rapids has had only 7.9% of possible sunshine. Today will be the 7th consecutive day with measurable snow. Grand Rapids has had 11.5″ of snow through Weds. Last winter we didn’t reach 11.5″ of snowfall until Jan. 21st. The last five days in G.R. have averaged 11.8 degrees cooler than normal. The cold spell over the Great Lakes has been long enough now to start ice forming in the Straits. (picture at link from Arnold Mackinac Island Ferry). Also, the color looks a little darker across northern Wisconsin, NE Minnesota and the U.P. That’s because there is a higher percentage of land covered by conifer trees with their dark needles. It’s been windy enough that much of the snow has blown off the trees. You can also see the darker rivers cutting thru the snow cover. Weds. AM, 62.1% of the Lower 48 states had a snow cover. That compares with 31.4% on Dec. 11, 2012, one year ago. Look at the cold air coming for Christmas Week! We’re on the warm (east) side of Lake Michigan – but this pattern means more lake-effect clouds and snow…and it means we’re virtually assured of a White Christmas. Still time to get those plane tickets to Miami if you want to escape the cold.
Snowfall Weds: Perryville NY 21″ (24-hour total), 7″ Grand Junction, 3.8″ Grandville, 3.5″ St. Joseph, 2.7″ WMU – Kalamazoo, 1.9″ Muskegon, 1.7″ Grand Rapids, 1.1″ Lansing.