Most of the 61" inches of snow which has fallen this winter at the National Weather Service in Cheektowaga has been from lake effect snow. A mild start to the winter allowed Lake Erie to remain ice free for most of December and into January. This combined with frequent bouts of stormy cold air made for perfect lake effect conditions.
Our colder than normal January is now showing up as a sheet of ice on Lake Erie. Satellite photos taken during Thursday's clear skies revealed only a small area of open water remaining over the eastern half. This ice cap will affect lake effect potential by limiting the intensity of any lake snow plumes which develop. It won't completely eliminate it , but the impact will certainly be much smaller than early season events.
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