Geophysical Research Letters

A simulation of a lake effect snowstorm with a cloud resolving numerical model

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Abstract

[1] Lake-effect snowstorms (LES), linearly organized bands of convective clouds, are a major source of snowfall and severe weather in the North American Great Lakes region. LES develop as cold and dry air flows over the warm lake surfaces triggering convection that is often organized into quasi-linear structures known as band clouds. The small horizontal width of these bands, often less than 5 km, combined with their regional-scale evolution that is impacted by the distribution of open water, lake-ice and land makes the forecasting of LES particularly challenging. Here, we describe the simulation of an observed LES event using a cloud resolving numerical model in a domain that includes much of the Great Lakes region. The model was able to successfully capture many of the characteristics associated with the event. This simulation suggests that it soon may be possible to forecast the development of this class of convective weather systems.

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