Saturday, February 13, 2016

SCIENCE OF SNOW SQUALLS

*WARNING: SCIENCE WEATHER NERD CONTENT*

Have you noticed the past few days we get heavy bursts of snow and then the sun comes out quickly??
Seems weird, right? Let's make some sense of it all:
These bursts of snow are caused by fast moving arctic fronts and lake effect. These type of motions in the atmosphere are not as long lived as a classic big 12 to 24-hour snow storms. BUT they can be much more dramatic for short periods.
Finish this thought: What goes up....







...must come down.
The same applies in the atmosphere.
When these quick hitting, rapidly rising columns in the atmosphere pass by they create near white out conditions. But only for a very short period. That's because rising air in the atmosphere creates clouds and precipitation (in this case snow because it's cold). And to offset the upward motion, air sinks on the flanks of these snow bursts. When air sinks, it creates clear skies. Thus -- heavy snow, followed quickly by sunny skies. The same thing happens quite often with heavy summertime t-storms.
The atmosphere is very complicated -- hope this answers just a few weather questions out there this week!