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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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