Pick your poison, Western New York.
Bone-chilling cold and blinding lake-effect snow in January? Or, extreme heat in July?
Lake Erie meted out weather justice this week in a classic case of "pay me now or pay me later."
Exhibit A: Juxtaposed National Weather Service maps from the two months.
In January, Erie, Wyoming, Genesee, Chautauqua and Cattaraugus, as well as three more east of Lake Ontario, were under winter storm warnings. Cold air picked up moisture from the warmer waters of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario and dumped it in those areas as snow.
This week, on the other hand, the lakes acted as a modest air conditioner for those counties.
But seven counties that escaped the brunt of the lake-effect snow in January – including Niagara and Orleans counties – baked under rare excessive heat warnings that, without the moderating effects of the Great Lakes, resulted in expected heat indices of up to 108 degrees.
Allegany County was the lone county to escape both the winter and summertime lake effects.