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Encyclopedia > Thundersnow

Thundersnow is a particularly rare meteorological phenomenon that includes the typical behavior of a thunderstorm, but with snow falling as the primary precipitation instead of rain. It commonly falls in regions of strong upward motion within the cold sector of extratropical cyclones between autumn and spring when surface temperatures are most likely to be near or below freezing. Variations exist, such as thundersleet, where the precipitation consists of sleet rather than snow. A shelf cloud associated with a heavy or severe thunderstorm over Enschede, The Netherlands. ... Animation of snowcover changing with the seasons Snow covering a leaf. ... For the singer, see Rain (singer). ... A fictitious synoptic chart of an extratropical cyclone affecting the UK & Ireland. ... In the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth countries, sleet refers to snow that has partially melted on its fall to the ground due to surrounding air that is sufficiently warm to partially melt it while falling; but not warm enough to fully melt it into rain. ...

Contents

Formation

There are usually three forms of thundersnow:


One unique aspect of thundersnow is that the snowfall acts as an acoustic suppressor of the thunder. The thunder from a typical thunderstorm can be heard many miles away, while the thunder from thundersnow can usually only be heard within a two to three kilometer radius from the lightning. In the United States, March is their peak month of formation, and on average, only three events are reported per year.[1] A shelf cloud associated with a heavy or severe thunderstorm over Enschede, The Netherlands. ... A guide to the symbols for weather fronts that may be found on a weather map: 1. ... In meteorology, a weather front is a boundary between two air masses with differing characteristics (e. ... synoptic literally means an overall view - hence Synoptic Gospels. ... A fictitious synoptic chart of an extratropical cyclone affecting the UK & Ireland. ... Lightning is an atmospheric discharge of electricity, which usually, but not always, occurs during rain storms, and frequently during volcanic eruptions or dust storms. ... Thunder is the sound of the shockwave caused when lightning instantly heats the air around it to up to 30 000 °C (54 000 °F). ... Lake-effect clouds off Lakes Superior and Michigan; satellite image taken December 5, 2000, courtesy of NASA. Lake effect snow is produced in the winter when cold winds move across long expanses of warmer lake water, picking up water vapor which freezes and is deposited on the lee shores. ... Streaming lake-effect clouds off Lakes Nipigon, Superior, Michigan, Huron, St. ... The Great Lakes from space The Great Lakes are a group of five large lakes in North America on or near the Canada-United States border. ... Damping is any effect, either deliberately engendered or inherent to a system, that tends to reduce oscillations. ...


Thundersnow, while rare anywhere, is more common with lake effect snow in the Great Lakes area of the United States and Canada, the midwestern U.S., the Great Salt Lake, and has also been reported around Kanazawa and the Sea of Japan and even around Mount Everest during expeditions. When such storms happen at ski areas, these mountains are often evacuated for safety. Lake-effect precipitation coming off the Great Lakes, as seen from NEXRAD Lake effect snow, which can be a type of snowsquall, is produced in the winter when cold dry winds move across long expanses of warmer lake water, picking up water vapor which freezes and is deposited on the... The Great Lakes from space The Great Lakes are a group of five large lakes in North America on or near the Canada-United States border. ... The Midwest is a common name for a region of the United States of America. ... Great Salt Lake, located in the northern part of the U.S. State of Utah, is the fourth largest terminal lake in the world,[1] and the largest salt lake in the Western Hemisphere. ... Kanazawa Kanazawa (金沢市; -shi) is the capital city of Ishikawa in Japan. ... The Sea of Japan (East Sea) is a marginal sea of the western Pacific Ocean. ... Everest redirects here. ... A ski area is a place where one goes to participate in the sports of skiing and snowboarding. ... Lyskamm in the Pennine Alps (4,527 m) A mountain is a landform that extends above the surrounding terrain in a limited area. ... Evacuation can have several meanings: In wilderness first aid, evacuation is the transport of a seriously injured person out of the wilderness to the nearest point an ambulance can reach to take them to the hospital, or to the nearest emergency room. ... For other uses, see Safety (disambiguation). ...


Thundersnow was reported in metro Atlanta during the Great Blizzard of 1993, and in greater New York (and other areas) during the Blizzard of 2006. During a thundersnow event in late March 1997, lightning struck the main ski lift at the Angelfire Resort in Angelfire, New Mexico after closing time. This caused no injuries, but damaged the only lift providing access to and from the operating part of the mountain. Large snow pellets were also reported from this storm. One of the largest Thundersnow events to date is the October 2006 snowstorm (Lake Storm "Aphid") which affected the Buffalo, New York area as well as Fort Erie, Ontario. Thundersnow was reported constantly and during the event's height, cloud to ground lightning strikes were occurring at a rate of 10 strikes per minute or more. On November 21, 2006, Charleston, South Carolina observed thundersnow for the first time in its history.[citation needed][dubious ]. On the morning of January 21st, 2006 at approximately 6:30am, Sedona, Arizona observed Thundersnow. Areas of Wisconsin including Eau Claire, La Crosse, and Madison observed this during a large winter blizzard mixed with ice and sleet on February 23rd and 24th, 2007, the same storm causing thundersnow to be observed in the area of Dubuque, Iowa. According to the 2000 census, the 28-county Atlanta, Georgia metropolitan area has a population of 4,247,981 making it the eleventh largest metropolitan area in the United States. ... The 1993 North American storm complex, also known as the 93 Superstorm or the [Great] Blizzard of 1993, was a large cyclonic storm that occurred on March 12- 14, 1993 on the East Coast of North America. ... The metropolitan area of New York City, also called Greater New York or Greater New York City encompasses the New York--Northern New Jersey--Long Island, NY--NJ--CT--PA Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Area (CMSA). ... New York City Hall as the snow began to fall on Saturday (February 11, 2006). ... 1997 is a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... A chairlift A chairlift is a type of aerial lift, which consists of a constantly moving loop of steel cable strung between two end terminals and generally over intermediate towers. ... Angel Fire is a village in Colfax County, New Mexico, United States. ... Graupel (also called snow pellets) refers to precipitation that forms when freezing fog condenses on a snowflake, forming a 2–5 mm ball of rime ice; the snowflake acts as a nucleus of condensation in this process. ... October 2006 is the tenth month of that year and has yet to occur. ... Also known as the October Surprise and the Columbus Day Massacre, among other monikers [1], Lake Storm Aphid is the National Weather Services name [2] for the unusual early-season Lake Effect snow storm that hit the Buffalo, New York area from the night of October 12 through the... Nickname: The Palmetto City Motto: Aedes Mores Juraque Curat (She cares for her temples, customs, and rights) Location of Charleston in South Carolina. ... View above Sedona from Schnebly Hill Rd. ...


From Lake Effect Precipitation

This type of thundersnow occurs after a long days work or shortwave aloft passes by, which steepens the lapse rates between the lake temperature and the temperatures aloft. A difference in temperature of 25 degrees Celsius or more between the lake temperature and the temperature around 5000 feet/1500 meters (the 850 hPa level) usually marks the onset of thundersnow if surface temperatures are expected to be below freezing. However there are several factors affecting its development. The primary factor is convective depth; this is the vertical depth in the troposphere that a parcel of air will rise from the ground before it reaches the equilibrium (EQL) level and stops rising. A minimum depth of 2.5 km is necessary and an average depth of 3 km or more is generally accepted as sufficient. Wind shear is also a significant factor, linear snow squall bands produce more thundersnow than clustered bands, thus a directional wind shear with a change of less than 30 degrees between the ground and 2km in height must be in place, any change in direction greater than 30 degrees through that layer will tear the snow squall apart. A bare minimum fetch of 50 km is required in order for air passing over the lake or ocean water to sufficiently saturate with moisture and acquire thermal energy from the water. The last component is the echo top or storm top temperature, which must be at least -30C. It is generally accepted that there is no longer any super cooled water vapour present in a cloud at this temperature but rather ice crystals suspended in the air. This allows for the interaction of the ice cloud and graupel pellets within the storm to generate a charge and have lightning or thunder result.[2] The lapse rate is the rate at which an atmospheric variable (usually temperature) decreases with altitude. ... In physics and mechanics, shear refers to a deformation that causes parallel surfaces to slide past one another (as opposed to compression and tension, which cause parallel surfaces to move towards or away from one another). ... In physics and mechanics, shear refers to a deformation that causes parallel surfaces to slide past one another (as opposed to compression and tension, which cause parallel surfaces to move towards or away from one another). ... Look up fetch, fetching in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...


From Synoptic Forcing

Synoptic snow storms tend to be large and complex with many possible locations and factors effecting the development of Thundersnow. The best location in a storm to typically find thundersnow on the northwest side, within what is known as the comma head of a mature extratropical cyclone.[3] Thundersnow can also be located underneath the TROWAL, a trough of warm air aloft, which shows up in a surface weather analysis as an inverted trough extending backward into the cold sector from the main cyclone.[4] In extreme cases, thunderstorms along the cold front are transported towards the center of the low pressure system and will have their precipitation change to snow or ice once the cold front becomes a portion of the occluded front. The Superstorm of 1993 and White Juan were such cases. A fictitious synoptic chart of an extratropical cyclone affecting the UK & Ireland. ... A surface weather analysis for the United States on October 21, 2006. ... 1Maximum snowfall or ice accretion The 1993 North American storm complex, also known as the ’93 Superstorm, the (Great) Blizzard of 1993, or the Storm of the Century, was a large cyclonic storm that occurred on March 12–March 15, 1993, on the East Coast of North America. ... 1Maximum snowfall or ice accretion White Juan was the unofficial name given to the Atlantic Canada blizzard of February 2004 which was a strong noreaster that effected most of Atlantic Canada between February 17th and 20th 2004 only 5 months after Hurricane Juan devastated Halifax on September 28th 2003. ...


From Upslope Flow

Similar to the Lake Effect regime, thundersnow is usually witnessed in terrain in the cold sector of an extratropical cyclone when a shortwave aloft moves into the region. The shortwave will steepen the local lapse rates, allowing for a greater possibility of both heavy snow at elevations where it is near or below freezing, and occasionally thundersnow. [5] A fictitious synoptic chart of an extratropical cyclone affecting the UK & Ireland. ...


See also

Lake-effect precipitation coming off the Great Lakes, as seen from NEXRAD Lake effect snow, which can be a type of snowsquall, is produced in the winter when cold dry winds move across long expanses of warmer lake water, picking up water vapor which freezes and is deposited on the... In physics and mechanics, shear refers to a deformation that causes parallel surfaces to slide past one another (as opposed to compression and tension, which cause parallel surfaces to move towards or away from one another). ... Animation of snowcover changing with the seasons Snow covering a leaf. ... A shelf cloud associated with a heavy or severe thunderstorm over Enschede, The Netherlands. ...

References

  1. ^ Patrick S. Market, Chris E. Halcomb, and Rebecca L. Ebert. A Climatology of Thundersnow Events over the Contiguous United States. Retrieved on 01-11-2006.
  2. ^ USA Today. Jack Williams. Warm water helps create Great Lakes snowstorms. Retrieved on 01-11-2006.
  3. ^ Patrick S. Market, Angela M. Oravetz, David Gaede, Evan Bookbinder, Rebecca Ebert, and Christopher Melick. Upper Air Constant Pressure Composites of Midwestern Thundersnow Events. Retrieved on 01-11-2006.
  4. ^ National Weather Service Office, St. Louis, Missouri. Thundersnow Proximity Soundings. Retrieved on 01-11-2006.
  5. ^ National Weather Service Office, Sacramento, California. Alexander Tardy. Western Region Technical Attachment No. 02-13: Thundersnow in the Sierra Nevada. Retrieved on 01-11-2006.

External links

  • What causes thundersnow?
  • Straight Dope staff report: Why don't snowstorms produce lightning?

Links to individual events

Subscript text Lawrence is a river city in Douglas County, Kansas, 41 miles (66 km) west by south of Kansas City, along the banks of both the Kaw and Wakarusa Rivers. ...


  Results from FactBites:
 
WHAT CAUSES THUNDERSNOW? (403 words)
Thundersnow is a thunderstorm than has snow reaching the surface instead of rain.
The CAPE or instability in the troposphere is a function of the tropospheric temperature profile and the initial temperature and dewpoint of a parcel of air.
A severe thundersnow occurs when the snow is accompanied with hail that is equal or greater than 3/4" in diameter or when the wind is equal or greater than 50 knots.
Thundersnow - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (753 words)
Thundersnow is a particularly rare meteorological phenomenon that includes the typical behavior of a thunderstorm, but with snow falling as the primary precipitation instead of rain.
Thundersnow, while rare anywhere, is more common with lake effect snow in the Great Lakes area of the United States and Canada, the midwestern U.S., the Great Salt Lake, and has also been reported around the Sea of Japan and even around Mount Everest during expeditions.
Thundersnow was reported in metro Atlanta during the Great Blizzard of 1993, and in greater New York (and other areas) during the Blizzard of 2006.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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