How far can lake-effect snow carry from Lake Michigan?

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Dear Tom,
How far can lake-effect snow carry from Lake Michigan?

Carol Cassato


Dear Carol,
Lake Michigan’s lake-effect snow typically falls within about 50 miles of the lake’s southern shore when frigid arctic air sweeps southeastward across the lake. The heaviest snows target areas within 20 miles of the lake in north-central Indiana and southwest Michigan. On occasion, these snows occur at such great distances that those being snowed upon don’t realize the source. Satellite photos confirm snow, originating over Lake Superior strengthens as it picks up additional moisture passing over Lake Michigan, can generate snow as far away as the Appalachian highlands of northern Georgia. Weaker east and northeast winds also produce lake-effect snow, but seldom make it beyond Peoria and Rockford.

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