Friday, February 01, 2008
Thundersnow and its unusual texture - Click picture for larger version
Tonight here in Douglas County, Colorado we are experiencing a rare phenomenon. We are having a Thundersnow storm. The sky is flashing with lightning, the air is filled with the sound of thunder, and the snow is falling hard and fast. Besides being a somewhat rare event, thundersnow storms sound a little odd, in that the sound of thunder is muffled by the snow in the air and on the ground. It is also very odd to see the lightning accompanied by snowfall. It isn't just a little lightning either, but a fairly spectacular display going on.
According to a University of Missouri study linked below, thundersnow occurs in only 0.07% of all snowstorms. Ours tonight was caused by the fact that it was near 50 degrees Fahrenheit today, and when the cold air moved in tonight, it caused a rapid updraft, creating static electricity and the resultant lightning.
To read more about thundersnow, CLICK HERE.
There is another strange thing about tonights snowstorm, and I don't know if it has to do with the lightning or not. Mixed in with the regular flakes are lots of hard packed little clumps of snow. At first I thought they were hailstones, but no...these are just packed little balls of snow that you can crush in your fingers, although they are firmer than the loose flakes. Click on the pictures to get a better look. The photo at the top of this post is the top of my patio table, showing the clumps and the craters they make in the other snow. Below is a rail of one of the chairs, giving a close up view. Very odd indeed!
More thundersnow - Click picture for larger version