YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Snow can lower the visibility for drivers on the roads. While most often our meteorologists can pinpoint when one will hit, sometimes a quick burst of snow can pop up as a snow squall.
A snow squall is when you’re driving along and run into a wall of snow that pops up quickly. When one hits, it can affect how far you can see for a short time.
“A snow squall is any amount of snow that comes in a short period of time. Basically, a burst of snow with gusty wind that’s going to reduce visibility,” said Storm Team 27 Meteorologist Paul Wetzl.
One happened at the Youngstown Warren Regional Airport, laying down snow across the runways.
“We’ll get squalls multiple times throughout the winter,” Wetzl said.
There are two types, a cold front squall and a lake effect squall. The latter of the two is what we mostly see.
“Those are those very narrow, linear bands coming in off the Great Lakes that can feed in a heavy snowfall and gusty wind,” Wetzl said.
Basically, anyone near one of the Great Lakes can see lake effect squalls.
What the atmosphere is doing plays a large effect on it.
Compare it to a fire hose coming off the lake.
“That entire fire hose look could be snow squall and that’s why it just spreads its way across,” Wetzl said.
Sometimes, the lake effect ones can spray on through the area. Others might hold tight longer in one spot, depending on the wind.