20161214 Lake Effect Snowstorm

Britt, on the windward side of Georgian Bay, often experiences heavy Lake Effect Snowstorms while the Bay water is still open.  When the wind is from the Southwest, the squall can start in Lake Huron and pass through the opening between Tobermory and South Bay Mouth to land a direct hit on Britt-Byng Inlet.  That is what happened earlier this week.

The images are in chronological order and show the clear air changing to blowing snow then to a whiteout, a combination of blowing and falling snow to produce a well developed snowsquall.

Before the storm the wind is starting to pile up both the water and broken ice at Dave and Maureen’s place near the mouth of Byng Inlet …


Byng Inlet is clearly visible from the mouth of the Still River …


And the line of dock poles clearly point to the houses a half km away.  The poles are about 11 metres apart, the first one on the left being about 6 metres from the camera.


Snow-laden clouds are starting to move in as the wind blows the rushes and makes interesting patterns on the ice-scape.


Heavier clouds and changing ice-scapes…


Blowing and falling snow is starting to obscure the far side.  The airborne snow can easily be seen in the contrast with the near pole on the left.  You can get an idea of the density of the snow by enlarging the image.  Click on the image for full size and click the back button to return here.


The tree limbs are bending and the ice/snow/slush is forming at the mouth of the Still River ….


The building across the Inlet are partially obscured by blowing and falling snow.  The inlet is open at the horizontal dark between the near point of land and the buildings of Byng Inlet.


The ceiling is lowering and the gusting winds are causing little whirlwinds along the Inlet.


Occasionally there will be a break in the cloud cover, but the falling and blowing snow is dense enough to obscure this male Staghorn Sumac.


The turbulence well indicated by the rough clouds and is caused by mechanical interaction of the airflow with the surface.  In this case the winds were gusting up to 50 knots (about 90 Km/hr).


Full blown snow squall.  Visibility is down to about 45m (or about 150′).


A little while later the wind veered towards the west and the big snow squall “streamer” moved a bit further south to dump some snow on the good people in Pointe au Baril.


Hydro One added to the excitement by removing power from our homes for a few hours during the event.

I subscribed to this wonderful link a few days ago.  It helps us to remember the days of summers gone by and to anticipate next summer’s beauty.  Mark makes amazing photos and has a very deep appreciation for nature, as exemplified by this image in that article:


He describes his approach in this well-illustrated article:  https://beingmark.com/macro-illustrated/

As Robert Browning said, in Andrea del Sarto,   “Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, Or what’s a heaven for?”   A good motto for beginning photographers like myself.