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Weather Talk: Great Lakes affect storm systems

The Great Lakes, from Lake Superior to Lake Ontario, can really affect storms, especially this time of year and, in particular, in November. The water in the lakes is slower to cool than the surrounding air and so acts as a drag on the seasons. W...

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Dan Glisczinski makes his way to an appointment by bicycle last year in Duluth, Minn., after an arctic blast dumped heavy snow in the Great Lakes region. REUTERS/Robert King/Duluth News-Tribune

The Great Lakes, from Lake Superior to Lake Ontario, can really affect storms, especially this time of year and, in particular, in November. The water in the lakes is slower to cool than the surrounding air and so acts as a drag on the seasons. When a low-pressure system becomes positioned right over the relatively warm waters of one of the lakes, there can be a sudden influx of thermodynamic energy into the storm.  The storm system converts much of this into wind energy. Wind speeds can reach hurricane force over and near the Great Lakes in the strongest of these storms. To a lesser extent, high winds can sometimes form for hundreds of miles around the storm center, even reaching out into the Great Plains. The wind in our region today owes its some of its strength to one of these November Great Lakes storms.  

 

Related Topics: GREAT LAKESJOHN WHEELER
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