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Lake-effect bands

12:13 PM, Jan 26, 2013   |    comments
Lake-effect snow bands setting up on southern and western sides of Lakes Superior and Michigan.
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GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - Have you ever wondered why clouds look the way they do during prolonged lake-effect snow events?

Of course there are many reasons why clouds form the way they do; but sometimes, during persistent lake-effect snow events, clouds form in parallel lines.

Those lines, or bands produce heavy amounts of snow within a very narrow swath.

A viewer emailed about the varying snow totals we showed on our snowfall map this morning.  Noticing that areas north of Muskegon only received between 3-5 inches while Muskegon officially recorded a new daily snowfall record of 9.4"!

That's because as the winds travel over Lake Michigan, they tend to leave a trail of moisture that is easy for updrafts to follow.  As long as the wind direction is sustained, snow will begin to pile up in those lanes.

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