A series of snow squalls are expected to form this afternoon and evening in portions of the northeast, bringing a quick burst of heavy snow to areas from New Jersey to Maine. Some snow squalls will be accompanied by wind gusts in excess of 40mph and the visibility will drop briefly to a half mile or less. It’s also possible that a quick inch of snow may accumulate. The reduced visibility and the snow will create hazardous travel conditions. The National Weather Service warns, “Use extra caution if you must travel into or through these snow squalls and snow showers. Rapid changes in visibility and potentially slick roads are likely to lead to accidents. Consider delaying your travel until the snow passes your location.”
— the Weatherboy (@theWeatherboy) February 29, 2020
As snow squalls move through the region, the National Weather Service may issue a new type of warning they introduced last November: the Snow Squall Warning. This warning, generally issued 30-60 minutes in duration, is issued in a way similar to severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings. The new warning aims to bring better situational awareness to drivers and mitigate impacts related to the squalls.
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 today. 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.