Thundersnow Facts: This Rare Occurrence Will Blow Your Mind! | Kidadl


Thundersnow Facts: This Rare Occurrence Will Blow Your Mind!

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Lightning seems to get brighter during storms as light reflects off of snowfall.

Thundersnow is a heavy phenomenon. A cloud's weight depends on the amount of snow in it.

Thundersnow, a thunder snowstorm, or a winter thunderstorm is an uncommon type of thunderstorm accompanied by snowfall as a primary form of precipitation instead of rain. It usually falls in areas of powerful upward motion in the extratropical cyclone's cold sector. Thundersnow is not thermodynamically different from any other kind of typical thunderstorm. However, the cumulonimbus clouds' top layer is typically low. Hail or graupel may accompany snowfall. Thundersnow can produce heavy snowfall of around two to four in (five to 10 cm) per hour. Snowfall at this rate may severely limit visibility, even in light wind conditions. Thundersnow is rare; however, it is concentrated around lake-effect snow in the Midwestern United States, the Great Lakes regions of Canada and the United States, the Great Salt Lake, and Oklahoma. Thundersnow occurs in the North-eastern United States, Halifax, and Nova Scotia, particularly in New York and New England, sometimes many times in a single winter season.

Tropical Thundersnow Facts

One fascinating tropical thundersnow fact is that heavy snow falls instead of rain.

Thundersnow is a rare weather phenomenon event when lightning and thunder occur with snow. Thundersnow depends on weather conditions. It generally forms like any other summer thunderstorm, when moist, warm air close to the ground rises up to meet the cold, dense air in the atmosphere. This creates a thundercloud, within which there are tiny droplets in the warm air. Tiny ice crystals are present in cold air. This makes for the perfect condition for lightning and thunder.

There are four forms of thundersnow; a common thunderstorm (on the front's leading edge), a large-scale heavy snowstorm, an ocean effect or lake effect thunderstorm, and a cold front. A large-scale snowstorm undergoes powerful upward mixing along with cyclonic winds, providing the right conditions for thundersnow events. Cold air passing above relatively warm water causes an ocean effect or lake effect thunderstorm. A cold front has very cold air, with the strong upward movement of air from near the land providing the right conditions for thundersnow events.

Freezing Temperatures

Cold air passing over comparatively warm water causes both snow squalls and thundersnow over great lakes.

Thundersnow is also called snow lightning. As per a 2009 study, winter thunderstorms or snow lightning takes place in 0.07% of snowstorms in the U.S.A. During thundersnow storm events in the United States, the atmosphere is unstable enough for the conditions to develop rain. Around late winter to early spring, the moist air below the clouds is warmer (that is, closer to land than the air in the upper cloud region). Snow lightning or thundersnow typically creates soft snow pellets, snowflakes, powerful gravity wave currents of air, and hail identical to ocean waves.

This event also occurs in the parts of northwestern Europe, the Sea of Japan, and Mount Everest. In northwestern Europe and the British Isles, there are occasional reports of lightning and thunder during snow showers or sleet in winter and spring. Thundersnow lightning appears in blue-purple flashes. Scientists have revealed that clouds with ice crystals collide to generate electricity, resulting in lighting.

Thundersnow drops snow at a rate of two to four in (five to 10 cm) per hour, with low outdoor visibility. Heavy snow can pile up on top of roofs, and poor visibility can cause accidents. The strong tropical storm of thundersnow can also cause high to low-wind chills, frostbite, and property damage.

Read on to know all about thundersnow and its safety measures.

Ice Accumulation

A thundersnow event causes dangers like ice accumulation, freezing temperatures, and tropical storm-force winds.

A mixture of cold and warm air is a lot more common in humid summers. Winter temperatures are frigid, and there must be a warm air source in order to form a strong updraft. This is the reason why thunderstorms form during dramatic weather conditions.

A difference between snowstorms and thundersnow is visibility and wind speed. Also, thundersnow poses twice the risk of snowstorm events. The National Weather has reported that blizzards or thundersnow have high levels of intensity and a high wind blowing rate with poor visibility. High levels of snowfall will critically lower visibility. Thundersnow has a high impact on the environment.

Safety Measures in Thundersnow

To avoid the risks associated with thundersnow, you should prepare your home and vehicle for winter storms. Also, take precautions when outside or traveling.

Snowfall during thundersnow acts as an acoustic suppressor of thunder. A common thunderstorm's thunder can be heard from many miles away, whereas thundersnow's thunder can be heard from just within two to three mi (3.2-4.8 km) away from the lightning. The peak month of formation in the United States is March, although only a little over six events are reported per year.

During winter storms, it is always suggested to dress in warm clothes and stay indoors. Insulate parts of your home and repair roofs. Make sure all heating systems are working in your home. Make sure to get your vehicle winter-ready with a winter emergency kit. Prepare for emergencies within your home. Store foods that do not need to be cooked. Outdoor activities expose you to several hazards. When heading outside, make sure to wear layered clothing. Make sure to carry an emergency kit.

<p>With a background in Aeronautical Engineering and practical experience in various technical areas, Arpitha is a valuable member of the Kidadl content writing team. She did her Bachelor's degree in Engineering, specializing in Aeronautical Engineering, at Nitte Meenakshi Institute of Technology in 2020. Arpitha has honed her skills through her work with leading companies in Bangalore, where she contributed to several noteworthy projects, including the development of high-performance aircraft using morphing technology and the analysis of crack propagation using Abaqus XFEM.</p>

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