Snow Squall vs Blizzard

General Discussions: ASK John: Snow Squall vs Blizzard

By polaris_800rmk on Monday, February 11, 2008 - 09:31 pm: Edit Post

What is the difference between a snow squall and blizzard? I have been in blizzards, according to radio alerts, and I have been in the UP in snow squalls, once again according to radio announcement. To me a snow squall is 10 times worse than any blizzard situation I have been in. Couldn't even see the front of the truck. Any clarification?


By admin on Tuesday, February 12, 2008 - 10:05 am: Edit Post

There are two main differences between a snow squall and blizzard. Duration of the event and wind.

Contrary to most peoples thoughts of what a blizzard is, it has little to nothing to do with how much new snow falls. It is about wind and it's effects with regards to lowering the visibility due to blowing snow. It is possible to have blizzard conditions with out a single flake of new snow fall. Blizzards will typically last for hours if not an entire day.

A snow squall is a brief, but very intense burst of snow that typically does not last for much longer than 20-30 minutes. Occasionally they can last for longer, especially in the case of a dominate lake effect snow band. Wind does not have to be present in a snow squall for it to happen.

The reduction in visibility in both is pretty extreme. I have been in some snow squalls that were worse than a blizzard, but been in some blizzards that were worse than a snow squall and even been in a blizzard that contained snow squalls!

-John


By sp123 on Tuesday, February 12, 2008 - 11:14 pm: Edit Post

but say here in the keweenaw wouldnt we only real bad snow falls im talking north of the bridge if the wind is from the west or south west and its under 15mph and just whats the best situation for us to get nailed northern houghton and keweenaw county


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