According to the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, 3 out of the 5 Great Lakes (Michigan, Huron, and Erie) are frozen over and appear to be straight from a Superman movie. The photo above was taken by photographer Chad Whaley at the Marblehead Lighthouse State Park. Like the other Great Lakes, Erie produces lake effect snow when the first cold winds of winter pass over the warm waters. When the difference in temperature between the relatively warm surface water and the colder air reaches a threshold value of 18 °F to 23 °F (10 °C to 13 °C), then “lake-effect snow becomes possible”. Continue reading for more.
As cold air flows over the warm water, the lake warms and moistens the air. Since warm, moist air is less dense than cold air, the heated air rises. Rising air cools and water vapor condenses into cloud droplets … the efficiency of snow production increases when the wind pushes the clouds over land. Friction with the ground causes air to pile up. This frictional convergence creates lift and enhances snowfall.