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Advances in Meteorology
Volume 2017, Article ID 8406379, 14 pages
Research Article

A Case Study of Anomalous Snowfall with an Alberta Clipper

1Department of the Earth Sciences, The College at Brockport, State University of New York, Brockport, NY, USA
2Department of Soil, Environmental and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO, USA
3NOAA/NWS Operational Proving Ground, Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Kansas City, MO, USA
4The Weather Channel, Atlanta, GA, USA

Correspondence should be addressed to Scott M. Rochette; ude.tropkcorb.cse@ettehcor

Received 18 May 2017; Revised 9 August 2017; Accepted 17 August 2017; Published 31 October 2017

Academic Editor: Enrico Ferrero

Copyright © 2017 Scott M. Rochette et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


An Alberta clipper moved over western New York state on 11-12 January 2004, producing snowfall amounts of up to 27 cm in portions of the region during a roughly 12-h period. In addition, lightning and thunder were reported. Such systems, known primarily for their fast motion and relatively dry nature, are not generally associated with significant snowfalls. A postmortem analysis of this event, following an ingredients-based methodology, revealed that as the weak low approached the lower Great Lakes, it came under the influence of coupled 300-hPa jets that produced enhanced divergence and significant upward vertical motion over western New York, resulting in the enhanced convective snowfall over the region for a limited time. Instability and possible enhancement via the Great Lakes are also investigated, which show that while there was at least modest instability over the region during the time of heavy snowfall, lake enhancement was unlikely.