Lake effect snow and West Virginia

BRIDGEPORT, W. Va. (WDTV)- Lake-effect snow forms when cold air passes over the warmer waters of a lake. Water holds on to heat more than air. As a result, below freezing air often passes over much warmer water. This causes some lake water to evaporate into the air and warm it.

This warmer, wetter air rises and cools as it moves away from the lake. When it cools, it dumps all that moisture on the ground. If it’s cold enough, that moisture becomes snow.

If the winds and temperatures are right, the air acts like a big sponge that sops up water from the lake and wrings it out on land. The direction of the wind is important. If the wind is blowing in a direction that covers more of the lake, the air will take in more water. The greater the temperature difference the more water the air will take in.