The mainly rural area just east of Lake Ontario in upstate New York gets an average of 20ft of snow a year. A new report explains why.
Tug Hill in upstate New York get’s massive amounts of snow due to lake effect snow storms and it turns out the shape of Lake Ontario. Lake effect snow storms are common in the Great Lakes area. Cold air travels over warm water, the heat and moisture over the water destabilizes the air mass causing intense storms.
A new report has these intense storms fueled by heat released from the lake, and the shoreline geography of Lake Ontario affects the formation and circulation of this circulation. Result…heavy snowstorms.
Lake Ontario’s east west orientation allows intense bands of snow to form. Low level winds that lead to bands of snow and the heavy snowfalls are influenced by the shape of the shoreline.
When land breezes move offshore from places where the land bulges out into the water, unstable air masses are formed and drive a narrow band of moisture that dumps moisture downwind. Thus there has been storms in Tug Hill that have dropped 40 inches of snow in 24 hours.
On Lake Ontario’s southern shore there is a large gentle, broad bulge that extends from Niagara to just west of Rochester. This bulge is important to where the lake effect snow bands develop. Another bulge is found at Oswego also contributes to precipitation down stream…meaning Tug Hill.
So , if you like snow…Tug Hill is where it is at.