Dear Tom,
When we have an exceptionally hot summer, and warmer lake temps, can we expect more than normal lake effect snows? ?
—Jim Hill, McHenry
Dear Jim,
Lake-effect snow tends to be heavier when arctic air passes over a warmer-than- normal lake, but if the lake is too warm, above-freezing warmth in the layer of air above the lake causes the snow to melt and fall as rain. However, if the air mass were cold enough to allow the precipitation to fall as snow, the warm lake would allow for increased snowfall. That boost would gradually diminish as the cold season progresses and the lake water temp drops toward the freezing mark. A warmer- than-normal Lake Michigan also would likely prevent a significant early-season snowstorm in the city and lakeside areas, causing the precipitation there to fall as rain, while snow occurs in colder inland areas.