How the new ‘Snow Squall Warning’ aims to reduce pile-ups

For many Midwesterners, we are familiar with snow squalls. That's when there are brief, intense snowfalls which reduce visibility and cause quick accumulations. At times, squalls can produce 2-3 inches per hour.

Snow squalls like this have been a significant contributor to major multi-car and truck pile-ups. Since some of these conditions can occur outside of big high-impact weather systems, the National Weather Service has begun implementing a new "Snow Squall Warning."

According to The Weather Channel, NWS offices in Binghampton, New York, Burlington, Vermont, Cheyenne, Wyoming, and Pittsburgh tested the Snow Squall Warnings last winter with much success. This occurred before national implementation.

The new warnings will trigger wireless carriers to transmit alert messages. The reason? So people driving in these areas are alerted to rapidly changing weather. In addition, NOAA Weather Radios will sound a warning alarm, similar to Tornado and Severe Thunderstorm Warnings.

Snow Squall Warnings will be issued in much the same way, only covering a few counties for an hour or until the threat for dangerous travel has passed.

-Meteorologist Eric Sorensen

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