What is a snow Squall?

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asked Dec 22, 2022 in Weather by Wabvass (360 points)
What is a snow Squall?

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answered Dec 27, 2022 by lightsensor (25,380 points)
A snow squall is a weather term that means a sudden moderately heavy snowfall with blowing snow and strong, gusty surface winds.

A snow squall is also most often referred to as a whiteout and is similar to a blizzard but is localized in time or in location and snow accumulations may or may not be significant.

While snow squalls are short in duration, snow squalls can cause whiteouts and poor road conditions.

The NWS issues Snow Squall Warnings to alert you when traveling.

Snow squalls only last anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes too, making them very different from a snowstorm which could last several hours to even days.

Snow squalls can drop moderate to heavy snowfall, quickly lowering visibility to white-out conditions and creating a dangerous travel environment.

The combination of quick reductions in visibility and sudden slick conditions on roadways can often lead to high speed wrecks, pileups, and subsequently injuries and fatalities.

There is also a high economic impact as interstates can be shut down for hours.

If you don't need to be out driving or about in a snow squall it's best to stay home as they can be dangerous.

While a snow squall can occur anywhere that experiences snow, they are most common in the Great Lakes region due to the lake effect on local conditions.

Snow squalls, while also quite predictable, form similarly to summer thunderstorms and therefore their placement cannot be accurately predicted until a few hours ahead of time at best.

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