What Actually Is Thundersnow?
Over the last couple hours, we've heard the phrase "Thundersnow" quite a bit. But what the heck is it?
People are claiming to have seen it. Others were hoping to have it for the game on Sunday at Highmark Stadium. It's Thundersnow...and it's a real thing.
The storm we're experiencing here in Western New York right now has had multiple people talking about Thundersnow. From space, it looks like this:
What is thundersnow?
There is a very scientific answer to this question that has to do with updrafts and upward bumps known as turrets but essentially, thundersnow is just like a thunderstorm that you would normally see in the summer, only instead of rain, it produces snow. It's a winter snowstorm with thunder.
What causes them to happen?
These storms normally happen during lake effect (or ocean effect) snow storms when cold air passes over warm water. You've heard that Lake Erie is very warm for this time of year, right? So when cold air like what we have with this storm passes over the lake, we get to see what in many other areas is a rare event.
How rare is it?
According to Discover, people don't get to see these storms all that often. They actually only get to witness about 6.3 thundersnow events per year.
Then what's the difference between a normal thunderstorm and thundersnow?
If it's just like a normal thunderstorm, what makes it different besides the fact that it's snow instead of rain? There are a couple differences really just in the way you see it. First, while thunder from normal thunderstorms can be heard from miles away, you often don't hear the thunder from thundersnow outside of the 2-3 miles from where the lightning originates. Also, the lightning that comes with it will often appear brighter as it reflects off the snow.
What do I need to do to stay safe during thundersnow?
The best bet is to stay inside if you can. Simple as that. The storm is going to probably produce poor driving conditions, so try to stay off the roads. The lightning produced can be dangerous as well. Remember that lightning doesn't only strike the tallest thing around. It can strike anywhere. But do your best to stay away from trees and tall metal objects.