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   Undertoad  Wednesday Mar 12 11:24 AM

3/12/2003: Record-setting snow

The Earth Sci Pic of the Day gave us this one, which shows a unique satellite view of record-setting snowfalls in the northeastern US and Canada. As much as four feet of snow fell in western Maryland (the center-bottom of the shot), and record snow hit Baltimore and Boston.

Elspode sends along this version (thanks!) which must have been taken a little later and looks at the Great Lakes and sees all but one almost completely covered. At the lower right you can see that some lake effect snow has taken place. The lake effect usually dumps more moisture on the right-hand side, the east side of the lakes. Buffalo, at the lower right, is famous for getting simply massive amounts of snow, even if the rest of the area sees very little.

Undertoad  Wednesday Mar 12 11:32 AM

Interesting note. If you look at the top picture you'll see two lakes in the middle of NY state. They are smack in the center of the image, and they look like a quotation mark.

These are the two largest "finger lakes" of New York State. What's interesting is that they are not yet frozen over.

In that area of NY there are a lot of wineries. Here's the thing: good wine grape varieties don't like to get too hot or too cold; they don't survive well. (They developed in France where things are generally more temperate.)

So this shot shows why wineries landed around the finger lakes. The waters there are a little warmer than the rest of the area, and they help to keep things a little warmer in the winter and a little cooler in the summer.

Wine grape growers talk about "micro climates" a lot because minor little differences can make big differences in the grapes. There's an example of a micro-climate. The growers plant right on the shores so they get maximum benefit of the lakes.

(The climate still isn't warm enough to support a lot of good RED grapes; most of the wine made in NYS is white because the white varieties withstand cold better. This is also why good German wines are white; grown for a colder climate.)

Elspode  Wednesday Mar 12 11:36 AM

The article accompanying the Great Lakes pic said that the lakes froze completely over on around February 27, so that is about a week after the snow pic of the Eastern US was made.

If you need any evidence that this has been a cruel winter across about half of the country, you need look no further.

Amazingly, here in KC we've had no more than two simultaneous days below 20 degrees, and I'd have to guess our average temperatures for the period from December to March to be around 40 degrees or better!

It has been damn dry, though. We're working on a two year drought around here. Very little snow this winter...several snow events, but all very moisture deprived, brief and melted within two days at most.

Elspode  Wednesday Mar 12 11:42 AM

Originally posted by Undertoad
These are the two largest "finger lakes" of New York State. What's interesting is that they are not yet frozen over.
I wonder if the lakes might have still frozen over in the intervening time between the snow pic and Great Lakes pic?

Sure would like to see a larger context of the Great Lakes pic.

Griff  Wednesday Mar 12 12:36 PM

Seneca and Cayuga are both extremely deep active lakes.... I don't think they ever completely freeze over.

dave  Wednesday Mar 12 12:45 PM

Western Maryland isn't actually at the bottom of the pic, but right under Pennsylvania. It looks like a little triangle. I don't have any image manipulation tools here or I'd highlight it to show you.

Microsoft Photo Editor kinda sucks, but with enough copying and pasting, I came up with this.

blowmeetheclown  Wednesday Mar 12 04:56 PM

Do we get a bonus, or am I just missing yesterday's post somewhere?

Undertoad  Wednesday Mar 12 05:53 PM

Arg, a miss. Sorry.

xoxoxoBruce  Wednesday Mar 12 05:54 PM

Isn't that Cayuga and Seneca below lake Ontario in the second picture? Look mostly snow covered.

tw  Wednesday Mar 12 07:47 PM

Asked in another thread was location of Lexington and Cloverdale. Deep into VA I was surprised. Well south of Dave's square highlighted box. Due to snow in that box, potential electric problems continue in the Lexington and Cloverdale VA regions (near VMI and Sulfer Springs WV). Two major electric transmission lines were lost in the Mt Storm area that includes an area west to Pruntytown WV (and I can't find Pruntytown on a conventional map).

These lines will probably be restored by summer. Good thing. We only have three major connections to our important electrical providers in the west. One was lost in the box. One in Erie PA has been in trouble still since last summer. None are very reliable according to MISO - the mid-west electric grid that provides much of our emergency power. Do record snow in winter mean record summer heat?

elSicomoro  Wednesday Mar 12 08:16 PM

Did you find Pruntytown, tw? It's off I-79, south of Morgantown. (And it's in the 2003 Rand McNally atlas.)

As to your last question, it's a good one. Perhaps this summer will be like the summer of 2000, where it was hot as hell in May, then rainy and mid-70s all summer (at least in the DC area).

Undertoad  Thursday Mar 13 12:14 AM

Arg, I didn't miss yesterday's post, I just mis-labeled it.

Nothing But Net  Thursday Mar 13 12:55 AM

<i>"Won't you take me to.. Funkytown?

Won't you take me to ... Funkytown?"</i>

Joe  Thursday Mar 13 11:21 AM


In the second image down, I think you can see shipping routes cut through the ice.

Bitmap  Thursday Mar 13 11:58 AM

I don't think so those streight lines are just the international boundries automaticaly put on there so we have a frame of reference. If you notice the states are outlined too.

Joe  Thursday Mar 13 12:11 PM



Katkeeper  Thursday Mar 13 05:19 PM

The reason some of the lakes do not freeze over (very easily) is that they are so deep. Erie is a relatively shallow lake, while Ontario is very deep. Ontario provides a tempering effect for the climate which helps the grapes, as do the finger lakes.

I was at a seminar on the Ontario wine areas last fall and found it fascinating.

Torrere  Friday Mar 14 07:43 PM

A cruel winter everywhere? Ha!

It's an extremely mild winter over here. We have had about three snow storms, and for months our weather seems have to been bickering with itself whether it is Spring or Winter. The 'Spring' faction seems to be winning.

Oh, and having record snowfall does not necessarily correlate with record summer heat (at least not inversely). Last year our winter was extremely cold. Instead of our usual cycle of snow-slush-ice-gone and snow again (rinse lather and repeat repeat repeat), the snow just stayed. Even though we had minimal snowfall, there was more of it on the ground than usual because it just didn't melt. Last Summer was vastly warmer than usual, and it got to the degree that we (at least, most of my friends and I) just shut down were too heat-lethargic to get outside and do anything.

Your reply here?

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