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Finger Lakes satellite photo tells story of snow, ice and wine

A photo shot today by a NOAA satellite tells a tale of lake effect snow and why the Finger Lakes are such a good spot for vineyards.

The photo is dominated by an ice-free Lake Ontario at the top and a snow-dusted Upstate New York. But just below Lake Ontario there’s something remarkable: Two dark, sinuous bodies of water — Seneca and Cayuga lakes — largely surrounded by snowless brown earth.

What’s going on there?

We called Neil Laird, a professor of atmospheric sciences at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva. He’s an expert on Finger Lakes weather, and he gave us a rundown on that photo and how it helps explain the region’s weather and wine-making.

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