What Is Lake Effect Snow?

Lake effect is something that only affects the cities and states that surround the Great Lakes, including Ontario, Canada, and the areas that surround it. It entails the process of cold air from Canada moving over the Great Lakes, in many cases, causing a massive snowstorm for all to enjoy. The cold air transfer with the warm waters, where the moisture enters the clouds that produce precipitation in the atmosphere such as snow. The precipitation that results ultimately only exists in a narrow band, however, so only a few locations at a time will see the beautiful snow that is made.

If you were to experience lake effect snow while in Ontario, you will notice extremely heavy precipitation of as much as two or three inches of accumulation every hour. The snow will literally only be in a small area, as mentioned, though, so it may be sunny just a couple of miles down the road. The way that the wind is blowing will help to determine exactly where the heavy, wet snow will fall to the ground, whether it be Ontario or elsewhere. If the winds become too strong, you may even encounter a lake effect blizzard, especially if the temperatures are extremely cold as well.

Ontario, Canada is part of the so-called snowbelt that receives lake effect snow, especially the areas that are close to the Great Lakes. Southwestern Ontario, especially, will receive whiteouts where visibility is significantly reduced due to the close proximity to the lakes, resulting in heavy snow conditions. If you were to visit the popular areas of Toronto or Hamilton, you probably will not experience this snow for yourself. At times, however, the central sections of Toronto may receive snow, so do prepare for anything when you are planning your trip to this beautiful province.