What is Lake Effect Snow?
Lake effect snow is a phenomena that many people who live outside of Upstate New York may not be familiar with, but is something we deal with practically every Winter. It is caused when cold air moves across water (in this case Lake Ontario) that is warm. This heats the lower layer of air, which then collects water particles. The particles rise but when they get to the cold air at the top, they freeze and fall back down.
Lake effect snow is usually accompanied by high-speed winds, which makes hazardous blizzard-like conditions very quickly. An example of this is the “October Storm” of 2006, which saw unexpected lake effect snow close in and, in a matter of hours, dump over 2 feet of snow on Buffalo. Generators sold out within 30 minutes, and over 100,000 homes were without power for over ten days.
As more lake effect snow nears Western New York, we wanted to make a post to help people prepare for it as best as they can.
Get Good Snow Removal Equipment
Keeping your driveway and sidewalk clear can help you avoid situations like the video below. If you are expecting heavy lake effect snow, a traditional shovel will not be of much help. Instead you should look into deicing salt, snow blowers, and consider hiring a plow service.
Deicing salt can be picked up at Lowes or Home Depot, and is generally sold in large 10 lb bags. Spread this on your driveway or walkway to help melt snow as soon as it lands.
If you do not have one already, picking up a quality snow blower could be a good idea. There are tons of options available, but they all differ so you should purchase based on your individual needs (some only deal with light snow, while some deal with heavy snow for example). You can find some of the best snowblower models reviewed here for reference.
Stock up on Food and Water
Stocking up on food and water is a necessity if you think it is possible you could find yourself stuck indoors and/or without power. Be sure to get non-perishable food though, as it could quickly go bad in the refrigerator if the power were to go out. In general, it is always a good idea to have water stocked up in the house in case of an emergency, but if you think a bad storm is coming, make sure you get extra quickly as it tends to be one of the first things to sell out.
Emergency Generator and General Safety Awareness
Having an emergency generator can be crucial to keeping the power back on. However, it is important to always keep safety in mind, whether you have a generator or not. Always have extra warm clothes, blankets etc. just in case the power cuts out and you have no heating for an extended period of time. Also, be sure to never run the generator in an unventilated area. Hundreds of people became sick due to carbon monoxide poisoning during the October Storm mentioned above because they ran their generators in their homes.
Common safety sense and preparedness are always crucial, but especially so in the face of a storm.