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Relentless Lake-Effect Snow Buries Midwest Towns with Feet of Accumulation

5 months ago
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An unrelenting cycle of lake-effect snow has been battering towns across parts of the Midwest over the past week. Multiple feet of snow have already piled up in some areas since the weekend, exceeding typical monthly averages in the middle of January.

Meteorologists say there is no relief in sight for snow-weary residents, with additional heavy snowfall expected to continue through at least Thursday as cold winds blowing over the Great Lakes feed wave after wave of intense snowfall.

The weighty snow totals so far this month can be attributed to an area of low pressure and an associated cold front that moved across the region late last week into the weekend. In the wake of the system’s passage, Arctic air has become entrenched over the Midwest, setting the stage for bands of lake-effect snow to develop.

The continuous flow of frigid air over the relatively mild waters of the Great Lakes will continue enhancing localized snowfall for days to come.

Over Two Feet of Snow In Just Days

The highest snow totals since the pattern commenced have been observed in lake-effect hotspots prone to extreme snowfall each winter, especially downwind of lakes Superior, Michigan and Erie. Cities such as Grand Rapids, Michigan, have already measured over two feet of snow so far in January.

Other locales, including Marquette, Michigan and Buffalo, New York, have contended with well over three feet of accumulation in less than a week.

In fact, some neighborhoods just south of downtown Buffalo recorded upwards of three feet of snow between Saturday and Monday alone as a narrow band of lake snow parked itself overhead for nearly 36 hours. The prolific snowfall resulted in the postponement of the Bills vs Steelers NFL playoff game on Sunday until Monday afternoon.

Despite the wintry weather, many fans still attended the game held at Highmark Stadium, where they were treated to a Bills victory.

Upwards of three additional feet of snow will likely bury the Buffalo area through Thursday night. The bullseye is predicted to be set up in typical lake-effect corridors from Watertown to Oswego, where snowfall rates could sometimes exceed three inches per hour. Storm total accumulations along the most persistent bands are expected to be measured in feet rather than inches.


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