OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma City, meet the Great Lakes.
A weather event known as lake effect snow that’s common in the upper Midwest and northeastern U.S., made a rare appearance at Oklahoma City’s Lake Hefner on Wednesday.
Meteorologist Ryan Barnes with the National Weather Service in Norman said an area south of the lake in western Oklahoma City received lake effect snow about 9:30 p.m. Wednesday.
“Very rare,” Barnes said Thursday. “It’s very unusual … it definitely was snow.”
The weather event can produce heavy snow in the Great Lakes, but Barnes said it resulted in only a dusting, “less than an inch for sure,” in Oklahoma City.
Lake effect snow occurs when cold air moves over warmer, moist air of a body of water. Barnes said conditions that determine whether an area will get lake effect snow include wind direction, orientation of the lake and temperatures both above the storm and at ground level.
“It can occur where there’s any body of water that’s warm enough, but the conditions have to be nearly perfect,” and those conditions are not commonly seen outside the Great Lakes.
With a northeasterly wind and temperatures at 24 degrees Fahrenheit (-4.44 Celsius) Wednesday night, the conditions for lake effect snow were marginal, according to Barnes.
“Basically, you flip a coin and you might get snow,” Barnes said.