Thundersnow is a term you’ll be hearing a lot of in the winter months, but aside from sounding pretty damn cool, what exactly is it?
Well it kind of does what it says on the tin, in that it’s a thunderstorm with snow rather than rain.
A rare weather phenomenon, it is caused in the same way thunder and lightning are triggered during the warmer months, when a pocket of warm air at ground level rises and collides with the colder air above it.
Even if temperatures are freezing or in the minus figures, the air above it is significantly cooler. In the summer months, this process creates heavy rain showers and lightning storms.
In the cooler winter months, the country is pelted with snow instead.
The snow contained within the thunderstorm acts to dampen the sound of the thunder and while the thunder for a typical storm might be heard many miles away, the thunder during a thundersnow event will only be heard if a person is within two or three miles of the lightning.
When thundersnow occurs at night, the lightning appears brighter – a consequence of it reflecting off the snowflakes.