The recent enormous snowfall in Buffalo was sobering for a number of reasons: it caused deaths, closed major roadways, ground much of the city to a halt, and showed the world that no matter how snowy a city is in the winter, Mother Nature can always find a way to top it. But with the feet and feet that fell in Buffalo, one question comes to mind: how is it possible for so much snow to fall in one place at one time? For that answer, Snow Blower Source turns to a number of different sources.
The Geographical Location of Buffalo
Buffalo is in an area that receives what’s commonly known as “lake effect snow“. Although most of us have heard that term before, not many can define exactly what this lake effect is and why it causes such huge amounts of snow each year. For lake effect snow to happen, a number of factors have to converge all at once and with Buffalo being right on Lake Erie, it’s pretty much in the exact center of this perfect storm.
Life After Winter in a Snow Belt Area
If you’ve ever spent a good enough time in Europe, you know their springs tend to start in March, not late May as in Buffalo. This is because they don’t have huge lakes to contend with and the wind directions are vastly different.
However, as we talked about above, air and water temperatures don’t heat and cool at the same rates with there always being a lag. Because air is less dense than water, it takes less energy to move the molecules; less molecules = easier to heat and cool, more molecules = longer to heat and cool. Water is denser than air, so it’ll take longer to heat and cool. By the time spring rolls around, the air is ready to warm up (and it does) but Lake Erie needs a bit more time to get there. All you have to do is go swimming in Lake Erie in May and again in September to notice the difference.
But despite all this, Buffalo between November to April tends to be a very snowy time. It’s in just about the perfect location for massive and long-lasting amounts of snow, while areas like Tahoe are experiencing some of the worst snow shortages in decades. And because Buffalo is one of these “perfect storm areas”, it’s why the city makes the news so much more often than most other cities. It always snows a lot here, but a heavy one, like the 6+ feet it received, is more newsworthy than a place like Kentucky getting “snowed in” with half a foot of snow (as unusual as it may be for the area).