The picture perfect storm that’s raked the center of the country over the past two days caused 135 reports of damaging thunderstorm winds and 12 reports of tornadoes on Wednesday. The storm also generated some pretty strong winds as it swirled through the Great Lakes, with a 55 MPH gust in Buffalo, 49 MPH gust at Chicago O’Hare, and a 45 MPH gust in Detroit, leading to some wind damage and coastal flooding. The weather will slowly calm down as the storm lifts north into Canada.
A nasty lake effect snow event is cranking up over western New York this afternoon, threatening to dump several feet of snow on communities from Buffalo to Watertown. Towns south of Buffalo could dig out from three feet of snow from the system, while eastern Lake Ontario could see up to five feet of snow in 36 hours.
Ho ho holy crap, there's going to be a "SantaBomb" next week, according to the hive mind on social media. The term is a nickname for a potentially large and disruptive storm that weather models are suggesting could affect much of the eastern United States and Canada just in time for Christmas next week.
The above photo, taken from a plane above Buffalo yesterday by photographer Jeff Suhr, shows the brutal lake effect snow storm in effect over Western New York right now. Some areas are expecting up to six feet of snow by the end of the week. These snowstorms are among the most intense in the world, and the processes that create them are pretty spectacular.
The water temperatures along coastal regions of Lakes Michigan and Superior took an astounding 25 to 30 degree plunge overnight on Monday. Parts of Lake Superior bottomed-out at 38°F, while parts of eastern Lake Michigan hit 41°F. These temperatures are more common in April than the last week in July.
The brutal winter the eastern half of North America experienced this year took a heavy toll on the continent's Great Lakes. Since late December when the first "Polar Vortex" descended and wreaked havoc, ice cover on the Great Lakes skyrocketed and topped out in the 80% range in February. It has, for the most part, stayed there ever since.