Thundersnow Hits Massachusetts on Christmas

Massachusetts had an electrifying white Christmas with instances of thundersnow reported on the holiday throughout the Boston metro area on Monday.

Thundersnow is a snowstorm accompanied by lightning and thunder. It’s a relatively rare weather type and most typically is generated by lake-effect snow near the Great Lakes.

“Thunderstorms accompanied by snow are usually of a different character than the ‘normal’ thunderstorm. The latter are usually rather tall, narrow storms containing a rising updraft of warm, moist air that has risen in a layer from near the surface that may go upward to 40,000 feet or more. Temperatures at the surface are usually well above freezing,” Greg Forbes told The Weather Channel in 2015.

Snowstorms, however, are characterized by large, more flat clouds.

“Most thundersnow events develop when ‘ordinary’ flat, layered snow clouds develop upward bumps or ‘turrets’… They rise upward above the rest of the flat snow cloud by about 5,000 feet. These turrets can develop when there is some strong lifting mechanism around the 20,000-foot level, such as an approaching strong mid- and upper-level trough. Winds with the upper trough bring in colder air aloft, and the lifting also cools the layer. Air cools as it rises,” Forbes said.

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SOURCE: International Business Times, Joe Difazio