Climate Change

Lake-effect snow storms: How they caused 6 feet of snow in Buffalo

'Lake-effect snow' has been hitting parts of the US. Image: REUTERS/Carlos Osorio

Michael A. Rawlins

Associate Director, Climate System Research Center, UMass Amherst

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Lake-effect snow – a cold, dry air that sweeps across the Great Lakes and sucks up moisture that falls as snow.
Lake-effect snow – a cold, dry air that sweeps across the Great Lakes and sucks up moisture that falls as snow. Image: The Conversation.

A graphic showing how lake-effect snow works.
How lake-effect snow works and why western New York get such powerful storms. Image: The Conversation.
A GIF showing wind directions from a storm in 2016 showing how lake-effect snow piles up.
Wind directions from a storm in 2016 showing how lake-effect snow piles up. Image: The Conversation.
Models predict that with additional warming, more lake-effect snow will occur.
Models predict that with additional warming, more lake-effect snow will occur. Image: Pexels/Sergey Platonov

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