Thursday, December 04, 2008

Lake Effect Skies

Noon hour skies as the clouds start to roll in from the west

The Great Lakes, shared by Canada and the USA, are really inland seas rather than lakes. Their massive size allows them to change the climate many kilometres inland from their shores. We live under the influence of Lake Huron, the eastern shores of which are about a 90 minute drive from our community. Our prevailing winds are from the west and they cross over the water picking up moisture on their way to our region.

Clear mid-morning skies to the east

This is the time of year when we feel the lake effect most harshly. Winter has come, but the relatively warm water of Lake Huron is not yet frozen over. As cold air blows over the water, clouds form and move our way. Day after day thick clouds dominate the skies producing the "Great Grey Funk" as well as damp, chilly air, characteristic of our early winter months.

Sledders near our home late Saturday morning

We had one day of sunshine last week and all these pictures were taken on that day...November 29th. The morning dawned bright, cloudless and cold and the sun was dazzling on the white snow.We are on the very eastern edge of Lake Huron's snow belt. I drove about 10 km west of the city and watched the clouds moving east from the lake.

Snow fence along the highway

Work crews were erecting snow fences along roadways, especially those which run north and south. West and north-west winds cause major snow drifting problems when they blow unhindered across snowy fields. Most afternoons, these clouds bring snow flurries, sometimes light and sometimes heavy. But that was not the case this day. The sun was never completely obscured and we were treated to a spectacular sunset. No sunset is spectacular without some cloud cover.

Sunset at 4:30 PM

Once the lakes freeze over, the lake effect weakens, our winter skies are clearer and the air is much drier. But that will not happen until sometime in January and only if the winter is cold. Being on the edge of the snow belt, we get off easy compared to communities closer to the lake's shore. It was good to enjoy this beautiful day as we may have only a couple more like it in December.

For more Skywatch posts follow this link after 2:30 today.

48 comments:

  1. I noticed on the news that the lake effect was going to go through southern Ontario this time... and I thought of you!

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  2. Oh wow Ruth.... I'll bet that sunset was spectacular over the snow. :c)

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  3. What a beautiful sunset picture. The clouds on the first picture actually remind me of a lake somewhat.

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  4. You are a wealth of knowledge. I learn so much from reading your blog. I have felt the cold more so this year then any other year. Last year at this time I was still walking with a heavy sweater with a light coat and mitts. Now I'm walking with leggings under my pants, both a heavy sweater and coat, mitts, scarf and flap hat. I think the older I get the more I feel the cold. But I still perfer the cooler weather over the heat.
    Love your pictures. Winter scenes are my favorite photos. There is just something about the snow that makes it seem to pure.

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  5. Wow Ruth, You've gotten quite a bit of snow already! Glad you got to enjoy the sun a little bit and share those wonderful pictures with us.

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  6. Lovely lake effect skies. I lived near Lake Michigan in WI and it was always cooler in summer and warmer in winter than 10 miles inland.

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  7. I can't believe how much snow you have in your hometown! We've just received a tiny sprinkling here in Heidelberg area. I like the photo of the sledders--looks like fun!

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  8. Ruth,

    This is a very interesting post and the suset photo is lovely.

    We have no snow on the ground. We did have a bit yesterday morning, but it wasn't a cold day and now we have none. Just hoping we get a little for Christmas, but of course we could have a lot by then.

    Well, off to the clinic for my lab work.

    Blessings,
    Mary

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  9. With regards to snow anyway, we often missed the lake effect in Sarnia because it's on the south tip while the prevailing winds are id.northwesterly. However, sometimes we'd get it when no one else d

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  10. I love all of these but that last one is stunning!
    Looks very cold but the sled riders appear to be having fun.

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  11. fantastic welldone work Ruth, and nature did the rest!

    here is my Sky in holland
    www.joannwalraven.blogspot.com

    JoAnn greetings

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  12. How well I know about lake-effect snow...we have that in common!

    Beautiful skies, especially the last one!

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  13. Realyy lovely and well composed photographs, Ruth. I think we have the same camera too.

    Ray

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  14. Lovely set of photos. It must be so beautiful just looking at that in person.

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  15. I'm always hearing about Lake Effect Snow on The Weather Channel - Very interesting & beautiful photos this Sky Watch Friday! We hardly ever get snow here in SE Missouri - but I'm not sure I'd want quite as much as you guys get up there though.
    Great Shots!!!

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  16. Ruth: A neat post with some intersting captures. We have the same effect from Lake Erie with the winds.

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  17. Spectacular pictures,especially the sunset.Looks like conditions are perfect for the outdoor enthusiasts.

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  18. Thank you for sharing your wonderful winter wonderland with us. Splendid photos.

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  19. I'm happy to say the only thing I like about winter is your gorgeous photos of it!

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  20. You certainly have taken some beautiful photographs......I have learnt so much from visiting your blog......

    Because it snows infrequently here, we are never prepared for it. There is always delay with clearing roads etc......

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  21. Brrr. Pretty shots but looks so cold. Glad you closed with that flame colored sunset. All beautiful photos!

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  22. Great photos but it certainly looks cold!

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  23. This is some amazing scenery, what a lovely part of the world you live in, even if it gets cold.
    Thank you for sharing and Happy SWF.

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  24. Nature is truly beautiful! Happy weekend! Hope you can have time to visit my corner too...

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  25. Great explanation and photos Ruth. Even we were getting some of Lake Huron's snow although usually we get snow via Lake Erie until it freezes..

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  26. Hi Ruth!

    Great Sky Watch Series!.
    Beautiful sunset.

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  27. This is such an educational post as well as well as beautiful

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  28. What a beautiful sunset.I love it..by the way Thanks for visiting my SWF.
    Have a nice day.

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  29. Snow Fences, Sledders... it's all a bit beyond my comprehension. I really must try to experience all that one day!

    Thanks for visiting the Sunshine Coast!

    Sunshine Coast Daily - Australia

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  30. Happy sky watch Friday
    Beautiful photo's so full of snow. Did you climb that hill side?

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  31. super series of wintry skywatch shots...thanks for sharing.

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  32. The snow looks so clean and peaceful: very pretty.

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  33. Beautiful photos especially the last one

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  34. Gorgeous winter pictures!

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  35. It's wonderful to see the winter landscapes under the ever changing sky.

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  36. Very interesting post. I was looking at the photos and feeling envious of the beauty but I do think I could live without the Grey Funk!
    Love the photo of the snowy fields but as always it's the sunset that gets to me..

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  37. I LOVE LOVE LOVE that sunset shot! And I would love to go sledding on that hill....looks like so much FUN!

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  38. You taught me something about these snow fences.
    Here, it hadly ever snows, so we ignore every thing about this organisation .
    This first one is my favorite. I would chose the left side, of course. How can the weather be so different in the same area.
    Your sunset is stunning! Happily, it gives warmth! Just a little bit too much early for me, (4h30pm).

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  39. It looks too cold for sledding, at least for this old lady. I love the closer, that sunset just warmed me right up!

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  40. It is always great to find a Blogger from Ontario.
    Love your pictures and share your passion for walking.
    I'll keep your blog on my bloglist.
    -Cheers.
    guildwood.blospot.com

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  41. Wow! Those are amazing. My favorite is the last one with the sunset.

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  42. Great set of photos!

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  43. the last photo is simply stunningly beautiful!!!
    SkyWatch#5

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  44. Beautiful photos! My husband is from southern Ontario, near Tillsonburg. That is one incredible sledding hill near your home!

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  45. Gorgeous photos! Happy skywatch :)

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  46. Thanks for all the comments from regular visitors as well as from SkyWatch participants.!

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  47. Hi Ruth, sorry I am running a bit late but I didn't want to miss saying that these are beautiful photos you've taken, and I also enjoyed the narrative. Have a great weekend.

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