You are watching: Can there be lightning in a snowstorm
Above: Christmas season lightning in St. Luigi in December 2012.
ThundersnowStrong winter snowstorms and also blizzards commonly produce lightning strikes, a phenomenon referred to as "thundersnow". Lightning and also thunder can occur with any type of winter precipitation - consisting of snow, sleet ("thundersleet") and also freezing rain.Thundersnow calls for very strong upward upright air activity within a winter storm, and is usually linked with very baroclinic low pressure systems through a resource of warmer waiting (not necessarily over freezing) wrapping into the storm. The warmer waiting ingested into the mechanism helps to present instability right into the cold sector of the storm, which together with the ambient increase vertical activity can produce prolific lightning activity. ("Baroclinic" means a shift zone between cold and also warm air.) strongly baroclinic lows are typical with nor"easters in brand-new England and springtime/late fall snowstorms in the Midwest, which have sources of warmth air come their southern to entrain right into the system. A solid enough low, or one the is quickly strengthening, can create thundersnow also without a great source of instability-producing warm air.Lake-effect eye on the shores the the great Lakes is a usual producer the thundersnow. Lake-effect thundersnow is common in early-season occasions (November v December), when the very first cold wait masses begin passing over the still-warm lake waters, maximizing instability.VIDEO CLIP 1: Thundersnow during a in march snowstorm in IllinoisVIDEO CLIP 2: Thundersleet in West VirginiaThundersleet and also lightning throughout freezing rain is common with heat frontal thunderstorms in the winter, which take place in association v elevated instability existing overtop that a subfreezing surface layer. This scenario is common when solid warm advection rapidly adheres to a shallow arctic airmass intrusion. In this case, this "elevated" thunderstorms are just "normal" warm-sector storms feeding turn off of a great of warm air over the surface, fairly than at the surface. When the surface layer is below freezing in together a situation, the raindrops from the storms will certainly freeze as they autumn into the cold air - either prior to hitting the floor (sleet) or after (freezing rain).
Winter thunderstorms and severe weatherNormal "garden variety" thunderstorms (just favor the ones in spring and summer) are really common during the winter month in the united States, particularly in the southern half of the nation east of the Rockies.
The Gulf that Mexico and the tropics remain a source of warm, moist waiting year-round. This warmth and moisture occasionally makes its way northward into the USA throughout the winter, enabling for "normal" thunderstorm problems to construct as much north together the heat air have the right to make it. Every when in a while, conditions for significant thunderstorms and also even tornadoes space possible. In fact, as with the good Plains does in the spring, Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia actually have actually their very own peak tornado season - from December to January! Violent storms and also tornadoes are not unusual events the southerly USA during winter.FACT SHEET: List of historically far-ranging wintertime tornado outbreaks in the USAVIDEO CLIP 3: January lightning end the Arch in St. LouisVIDEO CLIP 4: Christmas season lightning in St. LouisVIDEO CLIP 5: Towers in Kentucky struggle by lightning 11 times in FebruaryVIDEO CLIP 6: February cloud-to-ground lightning in IllinoisVIDEO CLIP 7: Illinois tornadoes in February with snow ~ above the groundVIDEO CLIP 8: Illinois tornadoes in December
ABOVE: Winter tornadoes? They deserve to happen! This tornado close to Jacksonville, Illinois taken place on February 20, 2014. Notice the snow still on the ground!Another great case research on the topic is the state that West Virginia, no stranger come wintertime lightning v thunderstorms it was observed at the very least once in between November and also February practically every year. The lightning strike in the picture at the height of this ar was caught during a strong thunderstorm close to Huntington in February of 2003 (note the leafless trees), while eye was tho on the ground in part locations. Probably the most notorious wintertime lightning occasion in the mountain State was the Tallmansville/Sago storm the January 2, 2006, in i beg your pardon a lightning strike resulted in an secret mine explode which led to the death of 12 charcoal miners (View a video clip that this storm).
See more: Can We Get Trump Out Of Office, Explainer: Impeachment Or The 14Th Amendment
High-elevation thunderstormsThunderstorms space common amongst the snowy peaks of an extremely high hill ranges (such together the Himalayas and also the Alps) during strong storms. High-elevation thunderstorms v frozen precipitation can occur at any type of time of the year at the world"s greatest ridges, and are a popular threat come climbers.
Examples that winter lightning, thundersnow and severe weatherAs a storm observer, i have generally observed and captured lightning and severe storms during the winter. The adhering to links bring about cover logs of this events, some through photos and video clips:
|December 1, 2018 Illinois tornadoes|
|February 28, 2017 Illinois tornado|
|January 16, 2017 Illinois thunderstorms|
|November 3, 2016 St. Louis thunderstorms|
|February 20, 2016 Illinois thunderstorms|
|December 26, 2015 Illinois thunderstorms|
|December 16, 2015 Illinois thunderstorms|
|February 20, 2014 Illinois tornadoes|
|February 1, 2014 Missouri freeze thunderstorms|
|December 20, 2013 Illinois thunderstorms|
|February 25, 2013 Illinois thundersleet|
|December 19, 2012 St. Luigi thunderstorms|
|December 9, 2012 Tennessee/Missouri thunderstorms|
|February 28-29, 2012 Illinois thunderstorms|
|January 23, 2012 Missouri thunderstorms|
|January 17, 2012 St. Louis thunderstorms|
|March 26, 2011 Illinois thundersnow|
|February 27, 2011 St. Luigi area winter severe storm/tornado event|
|December 31, 2010 St. Louis area winter major storm/tornado event|
|February 18, 2009 West Virginia winter thunderstorms|
|January 10, 2009 West Virginia winter thunderstorms|
|March 8, 2008 Thundersleet throughout icy road accidents|
|February 5, 2008 "Super Tuesday" severe weather/tornado outbreak|
|February 4, 2008 West Virginia winter thunderstorms|
|January 2, 2006 WV thunderstorms (Sago coal mine storm)|
|February 22, 2003 West Virginia thunderstorms|
|February 20, 2002 West Virginia thunderstorms|
|January 24, 2002 West Virginia thunderstorms|