Snow squall savvy

The News (New Glasgow) - - WEATHER -

I spend a lot of time talk­ing about the on­shore snow across Cape Bre­ton and P.E.I., the wind-driven snow bands in the Val­ley and the heavy snow squalls along the west coast of New­found­land.

I thought I would share a few in­ter­est­ing facts about them with you:

– They start with a strong wind car­ry­ing cold, dry air across a warmer body of water.

– They gather mois­ture over the rel­a­tively mild water and dump snow when they make land­fall.

– Lake-ef­fect or ocean-ef­fect snow falls in the form of light to mod­er­ate flur­ries and spreads over a lim­ited area.

– The stronger the wind, the farther in­land the snow will carry.

– In­di­vid­ual squalls of heavy snow can sit over one small area for sev­eral hours, even days; noth­ing changes un­til the wind di­rec­tion does.

– A shift in the wind di­rec­tion will drop the snow on an­other area.

– Satel­lite ob­ser­va­tions show that ocean-ef­fect snow clouds most of­ten oc­cur in bands re­sem­bling stream­ers.

– Since dry, cold air usu­ally comes from a west to north­west­erly di­rec­tion, the north- and west­fac­ing coast­lines are most likely to ex­pe­ri­ence this ocean-ef­fect snow.

Know­ing which way the wind blows is al­ways very im­por­tant when you live by the water. Per­haps a weather vane would be a good gift idea for that hard-to­buy-for per­son on your Christ­mas list. Cindy Day is SaltWire Net­work’s Chief Me­te­o­rol­o­gist.

%ands of heavy snow on an oth­er­wise sunny day Lisa Seaton spot­ted this snow squall com­ing across the marsh to the west end of Truro, N.S. The stronger wind, the farther they travel.

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