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Dangerous snow squalls are threatening travel in the northeast US


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Dangerous snow squalls are threatening travel in the northeast US

Doyle Rice USA TODAY Published 2:31 PM EST Jan 8, 2020 Potentially “dangerous” snow squalls are a major weather threat across the Northeast on Wednesday, forecasters warn. Snow squall warnings were issued to residents throughout parts of the Northeast on Wednesday morning, including in Rochester, New York, as well as around central Pennsylvania and the…

Dangerous snow squalls are threatening travel in the northeast US


Doyle Rice


USA TODAY

Published 2:31 PM EST Jan 8, 2020

Potentially “dangerous” snow squalls are a major weather threat across the Northeast on Wednesday, forecasters warn.

Snow squall warnings were issued to residents throughout parts of the Northeast on Wednesday morning, including in Rochester, New York, as well as around central Pennsylvania and the Philadelphia area, AccuWeather said.

For the snow squall warning in Philadelphia, the National Weather Service warned of “dangerous, life-threatening travel.”

AccuWeather senior meteorologist Dave Dombek said that “this setup looks to be similar to that of Dec. 18, where flurries and snow squalls wandered well away from the Great Lakes region and reached New York City.”

Heat wave, tornadoes, floods and snow: There’s some wild weather ahead for eastern half of US

Snow squalls have caused massive and deadly chain-reaction highway pileups in recent winters because of their brief but intense snowfall rates, which can drop visibility at a moment’s notice while slickening roads.

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Chain-reaction accidents can kill or injure dozens of people each winter and can wreck hundreds or even thousands of cars and trucks.

For example, during the harsh winter of 2014-15, from Thanksgiving to late March, there were at least 57 pileups of 10 vehicles or more, according to a USA TODAY analysis. Almost all occurred in snow squalls or freezing rain.

Squalls can occur when a strong Arctic front rolls through a region and are comparable to quick-moving summer rain showers and thunderstorms. Lake-effect snow can also produce squalls. 

What’s often scary about snow squalls is that they appear to come out of nowhere and aren’t associated with a large-scale snowstorm or blizzard, which people are likely to be aware of and prepared for.

During Wednesday in the Northeast, snow squalls have the potential to travel hundreds of miles downwind of the Great Lakes. This means the following areas could be affected: portions of Interstate 70 in eastern Ohio; I-76 and I-80 in Pennsylvania; and part of I-95 in northern Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York and New England, AccuWeather said.

From sunshine to ‘near-zero’ visibility: New York City snow squall videos go viral

More: 5 dead, dozens hurt as crash shuts down 86 miles of Pennsylvania Turnpike

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