Weather nerds unite!
Forecast models suggest we could see something pretty cool happen over Lake Michigan Sunday morning.
Did you see it?
It’s what we call a meso-low.
Think of it like a miniature low pressure center.
Mesoscale storms typically range in size from 5 miles to about 200 miles. They have broader impacts than smaller storm cells, and can often look like their larger scale cousins, tropical storms.
Adding the wind barbs to the forecast, we can see the cyclonic rotation around the meso-low.
Notice the converging winds over Lake Michigan are what cause the lift and therefore the snow!
The drastic cold is partially to blame. Cold air pushes into areas of warmer air, so as temperatures drop across the Upper Midwest the cold air over the land pushes into the warmer air over the great lakes.
A little upper-level support, or in this case a left exit region of the jet stream will add vorticity or lift to the atmosphere. This will help the low at the surface stay together and form into that classic storm shape!
Now, when I sat down to write this we were still a few hours away from the actual forecast verifying, so it might not even happen! But when it has happened in the past, some super cool stuff happened as it made “landfall.”
Winds increased significantly, and massive amounts of fluffy snow fell across the region!
These events aren’t entirely uncommon, occurring about 3 times each year– so keep your eye out in the future; you might just catch something your favorite meteorologist missed!
If you’re looking for a more in-depth article on what happens in a Great Lakes meso-low, my homies over at the University of Wisconsin did a great write up of one back in 2013.
For WeatherNation — Meteorologist Jeremy LaGoo