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It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for (or dreading): lake-effect snow is coming in earnest this Sunday for parts of southern Ontario.

Lake-effect snow is almost here, and right on schedule


Brett Soderholm
Meteorologist

Wednesday, November 16, 2016, 8:06 AM - It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for (or dreading): lake-effect snow is coming in earnest this Sunday for parts of Southern Ontario.


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I know it may be hard to believe me given the incredible amount of sunshine and mild temperatures we’ve been experiencing this month, but it’s true: the lake-effect engine will roar to life after a cold front sweeps through Sunday, dropping temperatures across the region by 15 degrees or more compared to Friday’s forecast highs.

Unlike last week when most – but not all – of the ingredients for lake-effect snow were there, this Sunday should have near-ideal atmospheric conditions to favour heavy bands of lake-effect snow across parts of Southern Ontario. You can read more about those conditions here.

Who’s going to be the most impacted?

While it is in fact possible to spot a broad-scale trend five days in the future, it’s much more difficult to offer up specific details this far in advance. But we do have a good handle on one key component of lake-effect snow: the wind direction.

Already, models are in fairly good agreement that the winds will generally be coming from the northwest on Sunday. This means that areas adjacent to, and downwind of Lake Huron and Georgian Bay have the greatest chance of experiencing lake-effect snow.

That said, this does not mean that those adjacent to Lake Erie and Ontario will escape scot-free. Heavy bands of lake-effect snow (or “streamers”)  can travel hundreds of kilometers downwind of the Great Lakes, putting a greater percentage of Southern Ontario’s population at risk.

And of course, even if you DO live close to Lake Huron or Georgian Bay, it’s still not a guarantee that you, personally, will be impacted; lake-effect bands are notorious for walloping one area while leaving another completely dry.

Enjoy the warmth while you can!

While we cannot say with certainty how Sunday’s lake-effect event will develop just yet, we can tell you that the unseasonable warmth we’ve been experiencing will come to an end.

After Friday, the long range temperature pattern is looking increasingly chilly, especially by comparison to what we’ve seen. 

Certainly there will be days that exceed the climatological average, but it is less likely that an extended period of those days will set up in the remainder of 2016.

So as we work out the specific details of Sunday’s lake-effect forecast, hopefully you can get out there and enjoy the pleasant conditions before they’re gone.

Stay tuned for more information as it becomes available! 

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