Snow Squall Alerts in Parts of Washington State
This week the National Weather Service has announced snow squall alerts for parts of Washington State. Do you know what a snow squall is?
I had heard of snow storms and snow blizzards but the phrase snow squall is not used that often. Here is what I learned.
Snow Squall Alert for Eastern Washington
Over the last few days, snow squall alerts were sent out over parts of eastern Washington around Spokane.
A snow squall warning is in effect until this afternoon for parts north of Spokane around Green Bluff and Deer Park.
It calls for white-out conditions with heavy blowing snow and dangerous travel conditions. That sounds like a blizzard to me, but what is the difference?
Snow Squall Versus a Snow Blizzard
Even though the conditions will look similar between a snow squall and a snow blizzard, they are different.
A snow squall is a lot like a blizzard except shorter and more concentrated.
A snow squall will only snow for a few hours but still have very high snowfall rates.
Multiple inches an hour are normal during a snow squall.
Snow Squalls Happen Very Quickly
Snow squalls also happen very quickly with little notice to motorists with drastically changing conditions.
They are often the reason for large accident pile-ups on busy highways because drivers are caught off guard.
Visibility drops fast and the warm ground melts falling snow fast and then freezing making extra slick roads quickly.
A lot of people die in pileups from snow squalls every year in the US from large accident pile-ups.
Now that you know, be safe or maybe stay home the next time you hear a snow squall alert.
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