Ask Joe – Can there be a severe thunderstorm with snow?


This is a great question. Most of us have heard there can be thunder with snow. It’s not quite as common thunder with rain as we just don’t have the ground warmth to create the type of instability that leads to electrical charges in the clouds. 

So can thundersnow reach the level of a severe thunderstorm? Let’s first look at what are the criteria for a storm to be classified as severe. They are very simple. 

1. Wind gusts past 58mph.

2. Hail greater than 1″ in diameter. 

If you notice, lightning, thunder and the rate of precipitation are not in that list which comes at a surprise to a lot of people. Therefore, we could get snow with thunder and winds greater than 58mph but at that point it likely would be classified as a snow squall, or in a larger storm, it may be included in a blizzard warning. 

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