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All About Weather: From Calm to Calamitous; A Quiz Deck
Sample Card Text
This unusual weather event combines snow, lightning, and thunder. Can you name it?
Answer The incongruous combination of lightning and thunder with snowfall is called thundersnow. Occasionally, local conditions may cause snow to reach the surface during a thunderstorm or other rain event, but thundersnow is most common as a burst of heavy snowfall accompanied by thunder during a snowstorm. As with thunderstorms, thundersnow is associated with an area of rapidly rising air that intensifies precipitation and creates the intracloud separation of electric charges that causes lightning. Thunder does not exist without lightning, of course, even though the typical low stratus clouds of a snowstorm may obscure the lightning bolt and camouflage the flash. Similarly, the thunder is usually muted by the snowflakes in the air and can be heard only a fraction of the distance that clear-air thunder can be heard. This phenomenon tends to occur when the air—although generating snow—is not excessively cold, most commonly as late winter transitions to early spring.