The first Winter Storm of the season is over, but looking back we could of seen a lot more snow in some locations. This was always going to be a two part storm. The initial clipper would push through Tuesday night followed by lake effect snow. Then on Wednesday night we would see a larger system move through bringing round two of snow.
We saw the snowfall amounts, from the first system, to be spot on to the forecast. A widespread one to two inches of snow fell with isolated amounts higher in the snow belt. However, we expected one to three additional inches of snow, in the snow belt, that never came.
So what happened? Meteorologist Scott Sabol of Fox8 in Cleveland explains in this tweet:
Why didn’t we have MORE SNOW with the recent lake effect early Tuesday? Notice the massive drop in moisture from 6000 ft (800mB) to 10,000 ft (700 mB) on Bufkit pic.twitter.com/f8JenvToqS
— Scott Sabol (@ScottSabolFOX8) December 14, 2017
The reason we didn’t see an additional three plus inches of snow Tuesday was because of a dry layer just above the surface. This caused the snow to evaporate before hitting the ground.
This process also helped to keep temperatures down on Tuesday. The evaporating snow cooled the surrounding air. An example of this process is sweating. As your body sweats when you’re overheated, it then cools down from the sweat evaporating off of your skin.
This wasn’t the only reason it was cold though, there was an ample amount of Cold Air Advection (cold air moving into the area) that helped keep our highs in the low 20’s.
The second clipper system was spot on. This powdery snow had a liquid equivalent ratio of around 15:1. Meaning that for every inch of liquid water that fell, fifteen inches of snow would accumulate. It doesn’t make good snow for snowball fights, but it will add up quickly. Overall, we saw an additional four to six inches of snow Wednesday night for most of the Valley.