A high-pressure system to our north is causing a strong breeze to come in from the northeast. As the cold Canadian air crosses over the warmer water of Lake Michigan, it is picking up moisture, forming it into dark clouds and then dumping it as snow again once it hits shore. This is what they call “lake effect” snow.
Milwaukee’s weather usually moves in from the west, so lake-effect snow is not quite the issue here that it is on the Michigan shore across the lake.
Buffalo, New York, is on the northeastern end of Lake Erie and a little southeast (and south and southwest, too!) of Lake Ontario, so those poor people have about triple the odds of winding up on the receiving end of the “lake effect,” which explains why they get such crazy-high annual snowfall totals.
Just today’s little weather tutorial, offered as a public service for everyone who doesn’t live next to a large body of water in a place that has cold winters and, thus, hasn’t had an opportunity to learn all of this the hard way😄