Friday, December 14, 2007

Cleveland: City Mood - November Winds

There's the old Cleveland joke about our climate. If you don't like the weather, wait five minutes...... it'll change. What may have started as a pleasant sunrise reflecting off the Hope Memorial bridge at 9 A.M. could end up as a rush hour thunderstorm by day's end.

Visitors to our city don't really don't appreciate this statement until they've spent some time here. But Living on the Northcoast, Clevelanders enjoy Lake effect snow and rain, blistering summers, ice storms, high winds, and temperatures that can vary over 110 degrees in a single year.
Many of us feel this area offers great compensation for the winter slush and cold. You get beautiful spring blossoms followed by spectacular fall foliage. Short as the summer may seem, it is ideal for boating, hiking, picnicking and visiting area attractions.

As an east sider we often see heavy dark storm clouds coming in out of the West. One minute we may be enjoying a beautiful sunset over the West Side Market or a pastel backdrop framing an ore freighter moored on the Cuyahoga.

And within less than an hour, a twilight overcast can roll right over the downtown skyline. Building tops will disappear in fog. Short ragged waves will dance along the Cuyahoga. High winds and stinging rain will lash across the bridges and roadways.

But most of the really nasty weather comes out of the Northwest. Before the heavy snows arrive we get the Alberta Clippers blasting in over Lake Erie right out of Canada.
Lake Erie's waters remain relatively warm into the fall. In late November the cooler western and Canadian air begins washing over it. The warm lake air rises and collides with this cold front. First we get sleet on the roads along with pea sized hail. As the temperature continues to drop, we get our famous lake effect snow.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame sits right on the edge of the Inner Harbor. Built in 1995, it's glass and steel frame is designed to withstand 150 MPH winds. Fortunately we rarely get lakefront gusts above 60MPH. Either way you don't want be at water's edge when the lake takes on a stormy aspect.