SHEFFIELD LAKE — Canada and other places and things that normally wouldn’t be visible from Lorain County’s lakeshore communities were visible Monday thanks to an atmospheric inversion.
Mark Mullen, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Cleveland office, said an inversion occurs when cold air on the water interacts with increasingly warm layers of air from land on a calm day, causing far off objects to appear larger and closer. Mullen said Lake Erie water temperatures were 45 degrees Monday and the air temperature was 65 degrees.
When such conditions are present, the light that filters through the layers bends and makes it possible for things on the lake which are normally obscured by the curvature of the lake to become visible, according to other news reports about the phenomenon.
“Today was a quiet weather day with a strong inversion over the lake,” Mullen said. “I can’t say that this happens a lot, but it does happen and is not rare.”
The Associated Press reported about the phenomenon in 2006 and quoted a 1906 Plain Dealer article which Cleveland residents said the entire Canadian shoreline stood out for about an hour as if it were less than 3 miles away.
People in Sheffield Lake and Lorain said Monday they were able to see the Canadian shoreline, Lake Erie Islands and Cedar Point. The islands and Canadian shoreline were still visible from the Sheffield Lake boat launch as of 6 p.m.
Brian Goldthorpe, who manages Lakeview Park, said he has seen the phenomenon only one other time during his 10 years working at the park.
On Monday he was able to see things in greater detail, including roller coasters at Cedar Point.
“We could see all the way to Cedar Point, which was pretty cool,” he said. “I couldn’t exactly make them out with my eyes until we got the binoculars out and could see what it was.”