Water and air temperatures impact lake effect snow heading into the cold season
As we head later into the cold season, the relationship of lake temperatures mixed with air temperatures become a big factor in whether or not we see lake effect snow or rain. Right now Lake Michigan's water temperatures ranges from the mid to upper 60s. While our air temperatures, especially during the morning hours drop into the 50s. As our air temperatures get colder, Lake Michigan water stays warmer longer. This warm lake mixed with big surges of cold air out of the north during November and December is what increases our lake effect snow potential.
How does this work? Cold air pushes south over the warm lake, mixing to create a humid layer at the surface. This warmer moist air rises, cools and condenses, and then produces clouds and lake effect snow.?
One big thing we see in our weather now that impacts this process is how warm temperatures remain through October. October looks to be mostly warmer than average. This means that Lake Michigan stays warmer longer, and that lake effect snow becomes more probable, especially once we finally see our first few surges of cold air out of the north.