We’re having a very rare thundersnow storm (or is it a snunderstorm?). Really cool. It is snowing very hard (close to a whiteout), the wind is blowing, and the the entire sky gets bright when lightning strikes.
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 kilometers 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.
Like during scattered thunderstorms in the summer, some parts of Denver are getting socked, and other areas just a few miles away are snow-free.
I’ve been in one other thundersnow storm, in Salt Lake City in the early 1980s.
Grace and Peace
2 thoughts on “Thundersnow!”
Kevin – was the Salt Lake City thundersnow storm you were in the big one on October 17-18 1984? I had just moved there a month earlier from Arizona, so the storm was a pretty brutal intro to winter weather for me. The storm started in the evening of the 17th with lots of lightning and heavy snow. I lived at 8th north and 9th west and noticed I couldn’t hear thunder from lightning striking between my place and downtown SLC (as marked by the LDS church office building), only about 1 1/2 miles away. The lightning stopped maybe a half hour later, but it kept snowing all night and we had 18+ inches of snow by the next morning. Another weird thing was looking out my window before dawn on the 18th and seeing several green flashes every minute from all over different parts of town, caused by tree branches (still with leaves) falling on power lines. It took me an hour to go three miles to work at the weather office because I had to navigate around many downed power lines. The storm was a lake effect storm – a friend of mine lived in SLC but worked over in Tooele and her boss couldn’t understand why she couldn’t get to work – the weather was fine over there.
The thundersnow storm I experienced in Salt Lake City must have been in 1980 or 1981 when I was a student at the University of Utah. It snowed very hard but not nearly 18 inches. It, too, was accompanied by the green flashes as power lines went down.
I do like those lake effect snows!