A Strong Cold Front Arrives

The much heralded cold front reached Lake Erie overnight. Wind quickly veered from southerly around 10 knots to westerly at 40 to 45 knots with the arrival of the front.

Strong winds aligned with the long axis of Lake Erie set the stage for a displacement — the transfer of water from the western basin east toward Buffalo. The water level at Toledo dropped nearly 3 feet between 7 pm last night to 5 am this morning.

The hourly forecast guidance from the High Resolution Rapid Refresh (HRRR) model captures the dramatic shift in the wind field as the front progresses east across Lake Erie from 2 am to 8 am on Friday morning. Note the abrupt change in the wind direction from southerly to westerly with the passage of the front — classic cold front behavior.

HRRR at 2 am

HRRR at 3 am

HRRR at 4 am

HRRR at 5 am

HRRR at 6 am

HRRR at 7 am

HRRR at 8 am

The persistent strong winds following passage of the front are expected to promote significant wave heights to 24 feet! The combination of high winds, towering waves, low water levels, and heavy freezing spray will make for very dangerous conditions on the Lake.

Significant wave heights at 5 pm on December 23, 2022.