While an epic lake effect snow event continues to unfold over portions of western Upstate New York, people in Pennsylvania are being warned to get off roads as snow squalls hit those areas with a sudden blast of heavy snow and gusty winds.
A snow squall is officially an intense short-lived burst of heavy snowfall that leads to quick reduction in visibilities and is often accompanied by gusty winds. Sudden white-out conditions and slick roadways can lead to high speed accidents with large pile-ups that may result in injuries and fatalities.
Sudden low visibilities is the primary concern with these squalls. While up to an inch is possible in some isolated areas, only a quick coating of snow is expected for most other areas impacted by these squalls. Winds may become extremely gusty and strong during the squalls. But as with most squalls, the bad weather should race away just as quickly as it hits.
This week also happens to be Snow Squall Awareness Week in Pennsylvania, where the National Weather Service and other public partners promote winter travel safety.