Bay Effect Snow!

Posted at 12:07 AM, Jan 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-05 00:07:22-05

Snow flurries across much of Maryland early this week came from a rare but not unheard of phenomenon across the Free State: "Bay Effect Snow"

Normally, this is phenomenon that is most often seen well north of us, in the states that surround the Great Lakes. And what's more, cities like Cleveland and Buffalo can actually end up getting feet of snow from the most intense "lake effect" snow streamers!

In our case, the effect was much lighter this time.  We saw flurries and at most some quick bursts from snow showers as our first true arctic air of the season poured in over the still relatively warm waters of the Chesapeake.

This happened because, as fresh arctic air poured in on a north wind across our long expanse of mild bay water, this warmed the lower layer of air, as it simultaneously picked up water vapor from the Chesapeake's surface.

Then, this moistened, warmer layer of air then rose through the colder air aloft, froze and then fell downwind as snow flurries and snow showers.

Check out the attached radar images to see the "bay effect" - it's simply something you don't see that often here in Maryland, but it's pretty cool when you do!