All Weather News

The Science Behind Thundersnow

6 Nov 2019, 10:46 am


Snow can be quite peaceful at times, but sometimes they can be accompanied by thunder. That’s thunder snow. A weather phenomenon that is quite uncommon.

But how exactly does thunder snow happen?



First, we need the storm to form. In the colder months, this happens when warm, moist air near the surface rises. This is why we typically see thunder snow around bodies of water because the water is warmer than the surrounding air.

The ascending air will rise several miles into the atmosphere where the temperature is below freezing. The faster the air rises, the more snow and ice will form. This turbulent air causes ice particles to bump into each other and lose electrons which makes them positively charged.

The snow gains electrons and becomes negatively charged. When these charges build up enough, you get lightning! And if you’re close enough to the storm, you can hear the thunder.

Don’t be afraid to marvel at this rare and awesome sight, but make sure to do so from a safe distance. Thunder snow tends to be a part of intense blizzards or winter storms and the lightning can often be much stronger than a normal thunderstorm.

About the author
Shelly was born and raised in beautiful Georgia. Once she decided meteorology was her passion, she pursued that dream at Florida State University where she got her Bachelor's of Science in Meteorology and also received her minor in Mathematics. While at FSU, she volunteered for a student-run, thirty minute weather show. Her broadcast meteorology teacher said she had real potential, and Shelly has ... Load Morenever looked back since. Before joining WeatherNation, Shelly worked at KIEM-TV in Eureka, California. There, she dealt with floods, fires, rough seas, extreme temperatures, and much more. This only enhanced her love of broadcast meteorology and her love of keeping the public in the know when it comes to weather!

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