This time of year can be difficult for lake effect snow across the Great Lakes, forcing it to act much differently than during the middle of winter. December through January is a period when the sun is at its lowest angle, and generates the least amount of solar radiation across the
Great Lakes. During this time, lake effect snow forms into dominate bands generally un-influenced by the sun.
In contrast, during late winter and early spring (February and March), the sun rides much higher in the sky with greatly increased amounts of solar radiation. During this time, lake effect snow forms into dominate bands at night and remains unchanged through dawn. However, by noon increased solar radiation begins to disrupt thermal patterns across northern Michigan, breaking up dominates bands into scattered snow showers. The scattered snow pattern will linger through the afternoon, and usually re-form into one or two dominate bands at night once the sun has dropped below the horizon.
Check out the pictures below captured off the NWS Gaylord Doppler Radar. The picture on the left shows a dominate lake snow band across northwest lower Michigan this morning. The picture on the right shows the effects of the sun on lake bands, as the pattern became more scattered.