Heavy lake effect snow to bring dangerous travel conditions through the Great Lakes


By Faith Eherts AccuWeather meteorologist
December 5, 2017, 11:52:09 a.m. EST

With a cold and windy climate sweeping this week in the northeastern United States, snow with a heavy lake effect will cause dangerous travel around the Great Lakes.

Arctic air will continue to descend from the Midwest to the east until mid-week, with temperatures that will be reduced by 20-30 degrees Fahrenheit compared to this week.

Sullen winds will further increase the impact value around the Great Lakes by dramatically lowering AccuWeather RealFeel® temperatures.

As these cold winds also blow over the relatively soothing Great Lakes, snow with lake effect will develop and create treacherous trips to leeward lakes by the end of this week.

  Snow with lake effect December 5

"Heavy snow bands will develop in northern Michigan until Tuesday night," said AccuWeather meteorologist Steve Travis. "Then, on Wednesday, snows and showers will form in front of Lake Erie, near Buffalo, New York, and Lake Ontario near Watertown, New York."

Travis expects snow to continue to flow to leeward of the lakes until Thursday

"Snowfall rates of 1-2 inches per hour can lead to dangerous travel conditions with snow on roads and low visibility", He said.

Anyone traveling on Interstates 75, 81, and 90 during this time should drive with extreme caution and beware of any weather warnings.


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Airline pbadengers, including those with destinations or departures from the Buffalo Niagara International Airport, must prepare for flight delays and cancellations.

Even local trips on foot will be dangerous as roads and sidewalks become slippery in wet and icy conditions.

"The snow bands will change during the night of Thursday, both west and north of New York will collect at least 6 inches of snow," said Travis. "The most persistent bands will fall from 1 to 2 feet in some areas."

Localized quantities exceeding 2 feet can not be ruled out.

Accumulated snow is expected to disperse in any storm, causing disruptive snowfalls to accumulate and cause even more local whitening.

This snow event with lake effect will gradually decrease from west to east at the end of this week; however, snowfall and showers can cause more interruptions in travel in many of the same communities less than 24 hours later, when a new storm falls in the Midwest.

The end of this cold and winter climate for the Great Lakes is not expected in the near future.

"The cold air will admit several snow possibilities in the Midwest, the Ohio Valley and the Northeast during the next few weeks," said AccuWeather meteorologist Max Vido. "While this may provide some seasonal joy, it can also cause interruptions in travel before the holidays."

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