Odd Lake Effect In Michigan on a Very Cold Day
In Michigan, we know about lake effect snowfall. In fact, the closer you live to Lake Michigan, the more you probably know about know about it. In Battle Creek, it often fizzles out before it gets to us. Often, the radar looks like President Trump built a big wall on US131 that stops the lake effect snow.
Today, we saw a strange picture on weather radar. I noticed it at 5am when I came in to work. A long thin wall of....something....the full length of Lake Michigan. It ran from Beaver Island to Chicago, right down the middle of the lake. The odd thing was that it never moved. As of noon, it was still there. What is it? Snow? Some kind of anomaly? Faulty weather equipment?
I asked M-Live Meteorologist Mark Torregrossa about it. He said, "It’s a band of lake effect snow in the middle of the lake, due to the North wind."
I have never seen this before, and I've lived in Michigan all my life. So I thought I'd look up "lake effect snow" to make sure I knew what it is.
According to Wikipedia and NOAA, "Lake-effect snow is produced during cooler atmospheric conditions when a cold air mass moves across long expanses of warmer lake water, warming the lower layer of air which picks up water vapor from the lake, rises up through the colder air above, freezes and is deposited on the leeward (downwind) shores. If the air temperature is low enough to keep the precipitation frozen, it falls as lake-effect snow."
I think the air temperature was low enough!
It was -14 in Battle Creek this morning at the radio station, where we use a NOAA-approved weather enclosure and thermometer. The record for today was -17, set in 1984.
A lot of people called in with readings of -19 near Delton. Dave Campbell said he lives at Nottawa Lake by Tekonsha. His truck thermometer said -20 this morning. About 5:30 am.