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What is a Snow Squall?

Snow Squalls can create dangerous driving
Posted: 1:52 AM, Jan 31, 2017
Updated: 2017-01-31 06:52:08Z

A snow squall is an intense snow band that can create dangerous driving conditions. Snow squalls are common in the Midwest, but fairly rare for the Mid-Atlantic. These snow showers can be dangerous for roads creating low visibility, quick snow accumulations and icy roads. They usually only last for 5 to 15 minutes.

Snow squalls are caused by instability created from a heated surface and the movement of cold air above that surface. As the cold air advects, or moves over that warmer heat source, it quickly becomes saturated, leading to dense cloud cover and bursts of snow.

Another more familiar type of snow squall is lake effect snow, where the source of heat / instability is a lake rather than the ground.

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