First Alert Weather In-Depth: Where is the sun?

First-Alert Weather: Where is the sun

The News10NBC Team details breaking News, Traffic and Weather.

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — It has been a long time since we have seen that bright ball of yellow, known as the sun, in our skies.

So far this December, we have recorded cloudy skies every day. The last time we recorded less than that was on November 30. So, for about a whole week we have recorded nothing but overcast skies in Rochester. As far as abundant sunshine, we have not recorded clear skies during the day since November 16! We’ve had a few partly cloudy days in between then and now, but overall we have remained grey since the middle of November.

This should come as no surprise for us as we have entered the colder months, and with Lake Ontario’s and Lake Erie’s water temperature in the mid-40s, it has created the recipe needed for cloud cover. Statistically speaking, this is the time of the year when we average our cloudiest days. From about the beginning of November through March 31 is when we typically record our cloudiest weather, and it is all thanks to the two Great Lakes. Because surrounding air is usually cooler than the water temperature over the lakes during the Winter season, we have air rising over them.

Obviously we can get lake effect snow from this, but most of the time the air is not cool enough to produce snow, but the temperature difference between the lake and outside air is cold enough to produce cloud cover. The cloud cover over the lake is one thing, but we also need the direction of the winds to blow those clouds over head. Our windiest time of the year is during the winter as we see drastic temperature differences, but the direction is key.

During the winter months on average we see the winds come out of the west-southwest, the direction is which Lake Erie lies from us. The second most common direction in which the winds will orientate in the winter is the northwest direction, where Lake Ontario lies. So, the temperature differences between the land and water, plus the general wind direction during the winter months, creates this perfect recipe for clouds. That’s why we have yet to see much sun this month, and why we usually don’t see much of it during the winter.