The mystery behind thundersnow, a rare winter phenomenon
Until recent decades, we didn’t know if the phenomenon was even real. Now scientists are peeling back why thunder and lightning can happen in a snowstorm.
When Patrick Market began researching thundersnow more than two decades ago, he received two very different kinds of responses.
“One type was, ‘Thank you for doing this, I knew that I’d seen this and nobody believed me,’” recalls Market, who is now the director of the University of Missouri’s School of Natural Resources. “And then the other type was, ‘There’s no such thing as thundersnow, this never happens in wintertime storms, and you’re wasting our money.”
But as he and other scientists have shown, thundersnow—which is when thunder and lightning occur during a snowstorm—is a very real winter weather phenomenon with serious implications.
(What are winter storm watches, advisories, and warnings?)
If you witness