Lake effect

From Glossary of Meteorology

lake effect

Generally, the effect of any lake in modifying the weather about its shore and for some distance downwind.

In the United States, this term is applied specifically to the region about the Great Lakes or the Great Salt Lake. More specifically, lake effect often refers to the generation of sometimes spectacular snowfall amounts to the lee of the Great Lakes as cold air passes over the lake surface, extracting heat and moisture, resulting in cloud formation and snowfall downwind of the lake shore.