With colder weather arriving, snow squalls pose a significant hazard to drivers in Pa.

Weather

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — It will be five years ago this January that a blinding burst of snow came through York County triggering a fatal crash on I-83.

The year before in 2016 there was another large pileup of over 50 vehicles on I-78 in Lebanon County.

While they don’t normally come with the big plow-busting Nor’easters, snow squalls are equally as dangerous or even worse.

Snow squalls are like lines of thunderstorms. The snow comes down hard and fast creating a quick and slick accumulation on roads and bridges. It falls so fast it can’t melt on treated roadways and instead turns into ice. Visibility also drops quickly to blinding whiteout conditions when the squalls blow through. It can become impossible to see the icy conditions ahead and around you.

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Days with strong winds and big temperature changes are prime days for snow squalls. Even today (Monday, November 15) we had several areas of snow just north of the viewing area that could have been problematic for drivers.

The National Weather Service is doing their best to get the word out about squalls in their “Snow Squall Awareness Week”.

Jonathan Guseman, the Warning Coordination Meteorologist for the National Weather Service in State College says, “If you are driving on an interstate when a snow squall warning is issued, the best thing to do is exit the roadway at the next available opportunity. If you do get caught driving in a snow squall, avoid slamming on your brakes, turn on your headlights and your hazard lights, stay in your lane, as well as increase your following distance. There is no safe place on a highway during a snow squall.”

A snow squall warning will be sent to your phone automatically if you are in the path of a squall through the Weather Emergency Alert system, similar to a tornado warning or flash flood warning. You can also get this warning with the free abc27 weather app. Remember to not come to a complete stop on a highway if you are caught in a snow squall. Keep moving slowly at a distance from other traffic.

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