Another Kind Of Lake Effect

Posted at 8:54 PM, May 02, 2013

WEST MICHIGAN — (FOX 17) — We all have heard about and experienced lake-effect snow. It’s when colder air blows across a relatively warm lake, creating at times near white-out conditions. In the warm weather months, however, especially in the spring, there is a different kind of lake effect.

This map shows temperatures as of 8:45 this evening. Notice how Kalamazoo is at 76 degrees, while just 30 miles away in South Haven it’s 48 degrees. That’s nearly 30 degrees in as many miles. This is of course due to Lake Michigan. The water temperature is still just in the mid 40s. The land heats faster than the water, and a circulation develops and creates what is known as a lake-breeze front. This is pretty much a microscale cold front that is formed over Lake Michigan. It carries cooler temperatures inland. So while at one point today it was 80 degrees in Grand Rapids, it was only in the upper 40s along the lakeshore.

This lake breeze front, like a regular cold front, also can trigger showers and thunderstorms. This happened Thursday afternoon. Some of the storms even produced some hail. The lake breeze front dissipated with loss of daytime heating.

There are still a few thunderstorms in West Michigan. For the latest, join us on FOX 17 News, or visit the weather page at