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November 20, 2014 - The "Great Lake Effect"

Friday, November 20th 2020, 5:30 am - Snowfall rates were hefty with the two-day, lake-effect snow event in November 2014, falling at 2-4 inches (5-10 cm) an hour until the early morning hours on Friday, Nov. 21.

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In November 2014, a very favourable setup for heavy lake-effect snow was established over the lower Great Lakes. It occurred Wednesday and Thursday, Nov. 19 and 20, respectively.

The surface area of low pressure centred over the upper Great Lakes Wednesday afternoon tracked across southern Ontario through to the Ottawa Valley by Thursday morning and the St. Lawrence Valley in the evening. But by daybreak on Thursday, twin bands of moderate to heavy snow were off to the races east of Lake Ontario, dropping heavy snow along the way.

The band initially started over Kingston and parts of southern Quebec shortly after midnight on the 19th but, as the west flow switched to the northwest, it changed the direction of the most focused band, allowing it to remain stationary as it unloaded on New York state.

Great Lakes lake-effect snow, Arthur, Ont., 2014/UGC In November 2014, a very favourable setup for heavy lake-effect snow was established over the lower Great Lakes. Photo: Scott Farhood/Arthur, Ontario.

Snowfall rates were hefty, falling at 2-4 inches (5-10 cm) an hour, equivalent to an average of 1-1.5 foot of snow within this band leading up to the early morning hours on Friday, Nov. 21.

The lake-effect remained as a multi-band of snow developed southeast of Lake Ontario through midday Friday, while continuing to weaken to flurries and very weak lake streamers. Little additional snow accumulations were reported Friday but the damage had already been done. Then it was time to clean up.

On today's podcast, Chris Mei talks about the conditions that fuelled the two-day storm that unloaded ample amounts of lake-effect snow on the Great Lakes region, how it unfolded on both sides of the border and the cleanup.

This Day In Weather History is a daily podcast by The Weather Network that features unique and informative stories from host Chris Mei.

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