Public Information Statement
Issued by NWS Binghamton, NY

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Public Information Statement
National Weather Service Binghamton NY
800 AM EDT Tue Oct 31 2017

...This week is 2017 Winter Weather Awareness Week for
New York State...

The National Weather Service will feature a different educational
topic each day this week. Today`s topic is Lake Effect Snow and
Snow Squalls.

Lake effect snow is a common weather phenomena in the Great Lakes
region. Lake effect snow develops mainly in northern, central
and western New York during the late fall and winter months.  When
cold, Canadian air moves over Lakes Ontario and Erie, the relatively
warm and moist air from the lakes rise quickly, condenses, and forms
lake effect snow.

The direction of the wind is the most important factor of who will
see the lake effect snow. Heavy snow could be falling at one
location, while the sun may be shining just a mile or two away in
either direction. The geography of the land and water is
very important. That is why the Tug Hill Plateau in upstate New York
is a great example of how topography plays a role in lake effect
snow development. The Tug Hill Plateau typically sees over 200 inches
of snow per year.

Lake effect snow develops in two primary ways: in the form of a
"single band" and "multi-bands" which are dependent on the
direction of the wind. When the wind flows horizontally
from the west and southwest across Lakes Ontario and Erie, a single
lake effect snow band forms. These bands can produce several feet of
snow within a short period of time. From November 17th to 19th, 2014,
up to 7 feet of snow fell downwind of Lake Erie just south of
Buffalo. From November 19-22th, 2016 persist northwest winds off Lake
Ontario led to multiple lake effect snow bands that dumped between 2
and 3 feet of snow across the eastern Finger Lakes to the Binghamton
area in the southern tier of New York.

Snow squalls are intense short-lived bands of very heavy snow that
often form along arctic fronts. Snow squalls produce blizzard-like or
white-out conditions that typically last less than 30 minutes. They
produce rapid snowfall accumulations, rapid drop in visibility
and flash freeze conditions on our roads. This makes snow squalls
very dangerous to motorists. Nationwide, snow squalls can claim
hundreds of lives each winter.

Take extreme caution while driving through both lake effect snow and
snow squalls. Heavy snowfall in general creates very low
visibilities. Lake effect snow and snow squalls can be narrow and
intense with visibilities dropping quickly to less than a hundred
feet without warning. Lake effect snow and snow squalls often have
snowfall rates over 2-3 inches per hour. This leads to very
hazardous driving conditions. If all possible, do not
drive through intense lake effect snow or snow squalls.

The following topics will be covered this week:

Wednesday: Nor`easters and Winter Storms.
Thursday: Flooding and Ice Jams.
Friday: National Weather Service Winter Products.

Additional information will be disseminated by social media
platforms: Facebook at, and
Twitter at,

Please join us by using the following hashtags:
#Winterprep, #Winter, and #AreYouReady.

For additional information on New York Winter Weather
Awareness Week:

You can also contact Dave Nicosia at,,
for additional information about 2017 NY Winter Weather
Awareness Week.


David Nicosia
Warning Coordination Meteorologist
National Weather Service Binghamton, NY is the U.S. government's official web portal to all federal, state and local government web resources and services.