Living next to one of the Great Lakes has its perks. Lake Superior is the largest of them all. And its great size allows it to heavily influence the weather in the Upper Peninsula.
This lake effect is often activated by winds blowing across the lake's surface.
Will warmer lake temperatures in the summer cause a larger lake effect in the winter? The short answer is "no," according to a N.W.S. meteorologist. She says there's other necessary variables to consider.
"It depends on the wind direction with respect to the lake, and it also depends on the differences between the water and air temperatures," said N.W.S. Meteorologist Megan Babich. "And, of course, how much moisture is in the air and other factors similar to that."
Ideal conditions for the lake effect to be activated are: cold air blowing on northerly winds across the warm surface of Lake Superior while the atmosphere is rich in moisture.
Big snows happen when low-pressure systems work together with the lake effect.
"One of the huge events occurred back in early winter of 1995. That's when Sault Ste. Marie had what we call a lake enhanced event. They got a perfect west wind, or slightly north of west, which is essential for them, and they wound up that one weekend with five feet of snow," said Chief Meteorologist Karl Bohnak.
One Facebook fan wrote on our wall, "warmer water means more snow because it takes longer for the water to freeze."
This can be true in some cases.
"The warmer water temperatures can have an effect on how much ice forms on the lake, and once there's less ice, the lake effect season can last longer," Babich said.
But all it takes is one strong windstorm to cause upwelling which means to bring colder water from the depths of the lake to the surface, which will weaken the lake effect.