Parts of the US East Coast just got hit by a 'snow squall' - here's what that is

snowReuters/Stringer

  • The National Weather Service issued a 'snow squall' warning in New York City and parts of New England on Wednesday afternoon.
  • A snow squall is a short, intense burst of snowfall that reduces visibility and comes with gusty winds.
  • The NWS warned of "heavy and blowing snow with wind gusts up to 50 mph causing whiteout conditions, zero visibility and life-threatening travel conditions."
  • As many as 40 vehicles reportedly crashed on Route 222 in the Berk County area of Pennsylvania due to the squall conditions and low visibility.
  • This squall arrived amid a polar-vortex event.

New Yorkers looking out the window this afternoon were met with a windy wall of snow.

That was a snow squall - a sudden onset of heavy snowfall accompanied by wind gusts. The National Weather Service (NWS) issued a snow squall warning for residents of parts of New York and New England, advising them to limit travel and stay indoors until it passed.

The warning mentioned "heavy and blowing snow with wind gusts up to 50 mph causing whiteout conditions, zero visibility and life-threatening travel conditions."

The NWS suggested people pull over or exit highways before the snow squall arrived, but the warning didn't come soon enough for drivers on Route 222 in Pennsylvania. According to local reports, ans many as 40 vehicles crashed during a blinding snow squall before 1:30 p.m. ET.

For more snow squall updates, check the NYC Weather Forecasting Office Website.

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