Submitted by Oswego County BOCES
As winter draws to a close in Oswego County, fourth-graders at Hannibal’s Fairley Elementary School recently met with meteorologist Jim Teske to learn about the factors that contribute to the lake-effect snow that has blanketed the region all season long.
The TV weatherman delivered a presentation to nearly 100 students as they gained a better understanding about different weather phenomena.
From tornados to blizzards, the fourth-graders received information about what causes such events to occur.
They viewed weather maps, videos and even conducted their own weather experiment to demonstrated atmospheric changes.
With the assistance of fourth-grader Mackenzie Astle, Teske set a cotton ball on fire, dropped it into a glass bottle and set a hard-boiled egg on the top of the bottle. The burning cotton ball heated the air inside of the bottle and created some airflow between the top of the bottle and the egg. Once the flame was extinguished, the bottle cooled and a partial vacuum was created, sucking the egg into the bottle.
“When you have high pressure and you move to low pressure, you create air flow,” Teske explained. “The air inside the bottle was low pressure and outside was high pressure. Something has to give.”
In addition to the experiment demonstrating pressure fluctuations, students learned that lake-effect snow is caused by cool air traveling over a warm body of water such as Lake Ontario. Combine those factors with winds out of the north or northwest and the situation is prime for a lake-effect snow event, Teske said.
Armed with the knowledge of the lesson, the students said they would know what to look for when it comes to forecasting the weather.