Lake effect snow happens when a cold front moves in and picks up moisture from the open waters of Lake Erie and dumps it on shore in the form of snow during the winter. Since the usual wind direction is from the northwest, the suburbs and areas just east of Cleveland get the fluffy white stuff in abundance.
Lake Erie is very shallow and usually around mid-January will begin to freeze with a covering that will eventually be a foot to two feet of ice. Now this is great if you are an avid ice fisherman as my father was. He'd tow an ice shanty out onto the lake (yes, by car), cut a hole, pull the shanty over it and set his lines down for those treasured perch. The mid-January freeze is also great at keeping the lake effect snow at bay since the ice covering keeps those weather fronts from picking up the moisture.
While I really don't care for the cold frigid winters here, I care even less for being snowed in. The older I get, the less tolerance I have. Guess I need to sprout some wings and go south with the other Snobirds or learn to hibernate like the bears.
There are several other places in the world where there is lake effect other than the Great Lakes. I've heard it referred to as sea effect too. Anyone else living on the edge this winter?