Weather 101

Snow squall warnings may be available soon

The National Weather Service is testing a new type of winter weather warning beginning in early January.

Snow squall warnings will be tested in seven different areas across the country to warn people of white-out conditions from heavy, blowing snow.

Snow squall warnings will be issued when short-lived winter storms are capable of causing visibility to drop under a quarter mile and subfreezing road temperatures allow snow to build up rapidly, causing dangerous, life-threatening travel.

The National Weather Service currently issues watches and warnings for snow storms that are expected to last for a day or more, but these new warnings will get issued for short-lived storms that are expected to last for an hour or less.

The new warnings would work similar to how severe thunderstorm warnings currently work. A polygon would be drawn across the region to where heavy, blowing snow was moving.

These new warnings are going to be tested in the following cities and surrounding areas beginning this winter:

• Detroit, MI
• Buffalo, NY
• Binghamton, NY
• State College, PA
• Pittsburgh, PA
• Burlington, VT
• Cheyenne, WY

In addition to the snow squall warnings in colder parts of the US, the National Weather Service is also testing similarly shaped dust storm warnings in Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona.

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