Thursday, November 8, 2007

Lake Effect Snow

If you were watching The Weather Channel Tuesday night you saw us--here in little Erie, front and center. Along with many other cities on the southern shores of the Great Lakes, we experienced our first snow of the season: Lake Effect Snow, as it's called. The Weather Channel said we had 3.5" and we did, sort of...depending on where you live. The official total is calculated at the airport.

Yes, we talk about snow a lot during the winter months of November through March. The conversations today went something like this: Wow, that was quite the first snow, Waterford got 14". Did you hear that I-90 had a dozen accidents by noon? The lake shore only got 2-3" and it was really just slush, not real solid snow. Did you see those downed tree limbs all over town? There were too many leaves on the trees and the limbs cracked right off. Power lines came down, too, from the heaviness. They say I-90 was closed from the Ohio line to Girard most of the day and I-79 was down to one lane south of McKean!

And so the morning conversations, coffee break discussions go for the next five months.

The Mount is right along the lake shore, but just 4 miles south is a glacial ridge on which interstate I-90 was built. The climates north of I-90 (along the lake) and south of I-90 (inland for 40 miles or so) are two different worlds. One gets snow and other nearly nothing, and then in the next storm, visa versa.

Today it's all gone! And so goes our first little snowstorm, on our way to our average of 90". I know that sounds wild to many, but remember, it doesn't come all at once and usually melts considerably before the next 2-3" arrive. We just keep on going along right through it. As my Dad, an Erie native used to say, "When I watch the natural disasters that many people have to live with: fires, droughts, hurricanes, I don't think our snow is so bad. All we have to do is shovel it a little and then it melts away." Way to go, Dad--a true Great Lakes acclimated veteran!