The German media are reporting on the massive snowfall hitting Buffalo and parts of New York state, describing the “lake effect” and an “early start of winter”.
Also meteorologist Christian Herold of Germany’s DWD Weather Service writes here how the story begins with the “remains of super-typhoon” Nuri, which developed into a low over Alaska’s Aleutian Islands a week ago and pumped massive amounts of tropical air into the Arctic. This led to an “unusual” air current pattern, with a large high parked over the west coast also pumping warm air into the Arctic. At the same time a powerful low developed over the central and eastern USA and pumped a huge blast of Arctic air deep into the United States.
“Never so cold, so early”
The result, Herold writes, was “a powerful cold wave over a large part of the United States which was as much as 9°C below normal for this time of the year. In some regions it was never so cold so early.”
Natural phenomenon, even occurs in Germany
Herold then describes the Buffalo “lake effect”, how the Arctic cold air mass swept across a relatively warm Lake Erie and picked up huge quantities of moisture and dumping it as snow over New York. To his their credit, Herold resists the urge to connect it to climate change.
The DWD meteorologist explains that the “lake effect” is a natural phenomenon that is also possible in Germany, but a smaller scale, especially near lake Constance, recalling an episode there in February 2013. It also happens near the Baltic Sea.
Moreover, the DWD warns that thanks to this year’s warmer temperatures over Germany and the relatively warm lakes:
…this winter, thanks to the generally warm water temperatures, we will surely hear about this effect once or more. Something we can look forward to with some excitement.”