Lake Effect Snow Developed Friday Oct. 9


Air temperatures in the mid to upper 20s F spread across western and central North Dakota on Friday October 9th behind a strong cold front. Water temperatures on Lake Sakakawea at this time were near 60 degrees F. Such cold air flowing over relatively warm water created large instability in the lower levels of the atmosphere over the lake. Strong northwest winds of 20 to 25 mph with gusts to 30 mph flowed across much of the lake Friday afternoon. A northwest wind provides a long fetch, or stretch of Lake Sakakawea that the winds flows over to evaporate enough moisture to form clouds and precipitation in the presence of the strong instability. As a result of the above processes, a small lake effect snow streamer formed between Indian Hills and Dakota Waters Recreation areas, stretching all the way to Bismarck and Mandan. This a much smaller scale replica of what occurs on the Great Lakes. Note the weak radar reflectivity signature that forms a line from central Lake Sakakawea through Bismarck in the image above. This is the lake effect snow band.


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