Friday, October 21, 2011

The "S" Word

That's right, I'm about to say it.....SNOW! 

Whether you like to believe it or not, it is coming. Soon and fast. According to the Farmers Almanac, we here in West Michigan should be buckling down or gearing up for a wild winter (whichever you prefer)! For some of you, this is great news. For others, just the thought of this makes you want to run to the nearest tropical island.

Here in West Michigan, we are affected by what most locals refer to as "Lake Effect". We hear the phrase pretty much every day in the winter, and by the end of the season the only Lake Effect we want is the one where we get to dip our toes in the hot sand. 

So what is Lake Effect really? It's a weather phenomenon that is best known in the Great Lakes region, though it takes place world wide. In the early winter months, a large body of water, such as Lake Michigan, will take its sweet time cooling, leaving the water temperature much warmer than the air above. As cool winds cross, the lake evaporates rapidly, forming narrow bands of precipitation that certainly do not hold back upon reaching leeward shores. Perhaps surprisingly, it's not the shoreline that gets hit the hardest by the snow bands, but 15 miles inland where the terrain begins to rise.

Shannon, our wonderful Communications Director, used some of her precious time to create (if I do say so myself) an absolutely incredible "Lake Effect" map, where she charted average snowfalls of various West Michigan regions. It is fun to see what cities get the most snow and who is effected most by lake effect. Curious to see how much snow your favorite city gets? This is one map you won't want to miss.

If this post brings music to your ears because winter is your "thing", we wish you a happy and playful winter. Time to break out the skis, snowboards, snowmobiles and snowshoes. 

As for the rest of you, enjoy your hibernation! We will see you when the trees start budding again!


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