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November 25, 2014     Post 53
Historic Snow

photo is of Lancaster early on before our friend gave up shoveling.The sun was out at our house when this was taken.

We are entering the interesting time of year for lake weather. Last week lake effect weather made the national news for several days when the Buffalo area got clobbered by seven feet of snow.

It was a quick change after the latest killing frost I can recall ever in my garden. There the pepper plants turned black on third weekend of November when Tug Hill got its first light snow fall of the season. A few days later they were up to five feet in some areas.

November 18 at my stretch of shoreline was a classic lake effect day with a high around 27 for the day a low around 20 and brisk WSW winds and 13 foot waves. Around midnight the buoy off Rochester recorded 18 foot waves and 50 mph winds. Hairy time to be running that last cargo of coal home back in the days of sail!

The Thruway had a long narrow band off Lake Erie positioned right along its length all day Tuesday. The band was only 10 or 15 miles wide but nearly 100 miles long. Whiteouts and blowing snow stranded many trucks and cars and the news reports said 132 miles was closed for travel and more than a 100 motorists had to be rescued. Here just a half hour's drive away it was sunny all day. We ended up with a dusting.

Half the snow plows for one town outside Buffalo were stuck and in Hamburg the police cars were bogged down. As were ambulances. A state of emergency was called and the convenience stores were doing a brisk business as people stocked up on bread milk and beer. There was real concern in Buffalo as the emergency dragged on and the streets remained clogged, that the beer trucks wouldn't be able to get through.

Lancaster, home to one of our Sara B associates already had 42 inches by 9 am. On Thursday the national news said it was one of the hardest hit areas with 8 feet in three days in some areas and dozens of roofs caved in. The photos are from his camera. His driveway was getting up to five inches an hour.The next day shoveled his roof as did many others.The 180 residents of a nursing home was evacuated after the walls in the dining room showed cracks.

The Buffalo Bills were supposed to play the New York Jets on Sunday. They offered the public $10 an hour plus game tickets if they would help shovel out the stadium. The next day the news noted as the snow continued, that the game had been moved to Detroit. Ultimately seven deaths were attributed to the “historic” snow.

Meanwhile out on the lake satellite readings of surface temperatures showed a range of 44 to 48 degrees with one little area of fifty degrees in mid lake. That's considerably warmer than it was back in June when we tried to cross to Canada with on Sara B. The water was more than 20 degrees warmer than some of the air going across it. The weatherman called the lake effect dump 'incredible' ( see comments posted around 4 pm November 18. )


I drove to the end of Brown Road in the afternoon to look at the lake. Big rollers were coming in at an acute angle and were easily cresting to six foot. On the horizon a couple miles off shore they looked huge. Probably somewhat magnified by the mirage distortion of 45 degree water and 25 degree air they looked like fifty footers. I thought I could discern the whole horizon undulating very slightly as the bitter air passed over the water.

That afternoon outside my window the near sunset light colored the edges of a cloud mass from the Lake Erie Band, now reaching close to Rochester. Gray and gold and cold, it was a vapor mountain range behind which the distant November sun disappeared well before 4:30.

We're in the big cool down phase now. Our pond has skinned over as has the rain barrel. Already a crust has frozen over the garden and the driveway puddles are iced up.Welcome old man winter.

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