As the winter approaches, there is a piece of information that you should be aware of, and that’s how dangerous snow squalls are. The National Weather Service now warns about them because squalls come in quickly and cause suddenly slick roads with poor visibility.
Normally, drivers who feel that they cannot see on the roads or that are having trouble controlling their vehicles will pull over or find a place to stop and wait out the storm. That doesn’t always happen, though, and multivehicle pileups may result.
What makes a winter squall so dangerous?
A winter squall is dangerous because of how quickly it happens. In addition to that, not much snow falls compared to the significant increase in slick roads and poor visibility that results from it. Squalls move quickly, so accumulations tend to be less than with major snowstorms.
Drivers may see the squall as they approach it and not be sure what it is. They may think it’s a normal area of light flurries, too. That means that people aren’t going out of their way to avoid the squall or to wait it out in a safer place. Squalls have strong winds and create a whiteout, so the chance of getting into a crash increases rapidly.
To help drivers, the National Weather Service is now alerting them to snow squalls. Snow squall warnings will have a short duration and a specific area marked, like you would see with a tornado warning. If you see one, avoid the area or stay home until it passes; doing so could save your life or someone else’s.