Surviving Winter: Snow Squalls

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Snow squalls are quick bursts of snow with gusty winds that reduce visibility down to less than a quarter mile. While they can be brief, they can very dangerous to motorists, and are the cause of accidents. They have even created major pileups in our region. Therefore the National Weather Service has now created a warning for this event.

Greg DeVoir, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service explained, “It is an impact based warning, which is truly different than a Severe Thunderstorm or Winter Storm Warning, which are criteria based on the amount of snow, or size of hail, and measurement of wind gusts.”

An impact based warning is an event that doesn’t meet traditional thresholds of a regular warning, but forecasts believe that conditions are right and could lead to dangerous travel during busy parts of the day.

Greg DeVoir said, “So we don’t want to be issuing these overnight, when people are snug in their beds, safe at home, what we do in those cases, we contact the regional traffic centers for PennDOT and they can dispatch their highway signs to get that information out to truckers.”

Snow squalls quickly come and go, but they can really ruin a commute. That is why we need to take these warnings seriously and prepare for these types of winter weather days. It is not always bout the amount of snow that will accumulate, but its impact.

Mr. DeVoir added, “Education is the biggest part, hammering home the impact. We are not glorifying these, we are not trying to hype it, we are just saying don’t be on the highway because it is not safe there.”

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