What is a Snow Squall

Learn all about snow squalls, sudden intense bursts of snowfall that can create hazardous driving conditions and reduced visibility. Understand their characteristics, impact, and how to stay safe on the road.


A snow squall is a sudden and intense burst of snowfall that can result in hazardous driving conditions and reduced visibility. These weather phenomena are often localized and can occur with little warning, making them particularly dangerous for motorists and outdoor activities.

Characteristics of a Snow Squall

Snow squalls are typically characterized by:

  • Intense snowfall rates
  • Strong wind gusts
  • Sharp temperature drops
  • Quick onset and short duration

Impact of Snow Squalls

The sudden nature of snow squalls can catch drivers off guard, leading to accidents and road closures. Reduced visibility and icy roads make it challenging for motorists to navigate safely, increasing the risk of collisions.

Examples of Snow Squalls

One notable example of a snow squall event is the 2016 pileup on Interstate 94 in Michigan, where over 50 vehicles were involved in a chain reaction crash due to whiteout conditions caused by a snow squall.

Preventing Snow Squall Accidents

To minimize the risk of accidents during snow squalls, drivers should:

  • Reduce speed and increase following distance
  • Turn on headlights and hazard lights for visibility
  • Avoid sudden maneuvers


Snow squalls are a common winter weather phenomenon that can pose significant dangers to drivers and outdoor enthusiasts. By understanding the characteristics of snow squalls and taking appropriate safety precautions, individuals can better navigate these sudden and intense snow events.

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