Lake Effect Snow 2020

All Photographs Brian A. Morganti

Lake Ontario - Oswego & Jefferson County New York

Tug Hill Plateau Region

Friday February 28, 2020

A somewhat rare late season Lake Effect snow event prompted me and my friend Mike Long to drive the 300 miles north to the eastern shores of Lake Ontario.  Usually by this time of the year the lakes are mostly frozen and the lake effect snows are long gone.  But this year a mild winter kept the lake waters ice free and relatively warm and all that would be needed is a surge of cold air moving over the warm lake waters to create blizzard conditions.  A strong late season cold front with 55 mph winds swept over the lakes starting on February 27th, the perfect ingredient needed over the warm moist lake waters to create several feet of blowing and drifting snow over the eastern shores of Lake Ontario and the higher terrain of the nearby Tug Hill region.

First Look - Rainbow ShoresThe wind was blowing steady at 45-55mph when this photo was taken looking north from near Pulaski, NY.  The temperature was 23F at the time and it didn't take long for the spray off the lake to freeze on my lens.


Frozen Shores - Rainbow Shores:  Icy shores and stormy skies tell the story that is repeated over and over again as another band of snow gets ready to move in from the lake. 


Dead End - Rainbow ShoresAn obvious dead end to the ice covered road that leads to the edge of the lake as stormy clouds announce the arrival of yet more snow. 


Snow Bound - Adams Center, NY:  A typical scene found in one of the many snow bound towns found in the Tug Hill region east of Lake Ontario, an area that often receives in excess of 200 inches of snow per year. 


Snowed In - Adams Center, NY:  With all the drifting and another foot or more of snow forecasted for the evening this photo was taken, many folks simply wait until it is all over to start digging out.


Deep Snow - Rodman, NY:  This image was captured a few miles east of Adams Center at a slightly higher elevation.  Snow depths rapidly increase with the elevation and up to 4 feet of snow was reported in nearby towns.   


Snow Barn - Rodman, NYAt first glance snow depths appear a bit lighter in this image, but that is mostly due to the high winds sweeping the snow into deeper drifts on the right side of this barn.


Snow Drifts - Adams Center, NY :   A  closer look at the wind driven snow drifts blocking entry to the garage doors of this homeowner.  Another reason many folks wait until the winds subside before any major snow removal attempts are made.


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