The National Weather Service (NWS) will begin to issue snow squall warnings this winter.

This kind of storm is described as a brief but intense snowfall that drops enough snow to disrupt driving visibility and slicken roads.

Although snow squalls do not leave a large amount of snow on the ground, the sudden change in weather creates very dangerous driving conditions.

The short-term burst of heavy snow will suddenly and severely obstruct visibility – making it very difficult to safely navigate roadways.

In the past, snow squalls have been a contributor to major highway pileups because the road slickens at such a rapid and unexpected rate.

“Annual highway fatalities from these events can exceed fatalities due to tornadoes in many years,” the NWS explained.

A snow squall warning will be issued when conditions warrant by seven NWS offices in the Lower 48 starting in early January, according to Winter News.

Select NWS offices will be issuing this sort of warning. The offices include:

  • State College, Pennsylvania
  • Buffalo, New York
  • Binghamton, New York
  • Burlington, Vermont
  • Detroit
  • Pittsburgh
  • Cheyenne, Wyoming

This is an example of what a snow squall warning will look like:

If such a warning is issued, the NWS advises that you should avoid entirely or delay travel until the snow passes, but if you must travel use extra caution and allow extra travel time.

In March of 2017, snow squalls were the cause of a 30 vehicle pileup on Interstate 81 in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania. There was 1 fatality and many seriously injured.

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