Snow squall warnings, a new weather warning, start this season

A car flips over onto its top at the scene of a second crash on Interstate 80 near mile marker 277, north of Durant, in early February 2018. (Courtesy: Michael Ellis)
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Occasionally, narrow bands of moderate to heavy snow move through, dropping visibility and causing dangerous driving conditions very quickly. Sometimes they have sudden gusty winds. These bursts of snow and wind are more likely to cause car accidents, which sometimes lead to chain reaction wrecks. Snow squalls are not unlike a line of fast-moving thunderstorms, except they’re a winter version that produces snow rather than rain.

Because of this hazardous weather, the National Weather Service will start issuing snow squall warnings. Snow squall warnings, unlike winter weather advisories or winter storm warnings, will last for less than an hour. The warning box will cover just the snow squall and the area it’s moving into, instead of entire counties, similar to how severe weather warnings work.

When a snow squall warning is in effect, you should avoid traveling. If you need to drive, be ready for a fast change in weather and road conditions. Leave extra time, extra space between you and other vehicles, and don’t slam on your brakes.

If you have a weather radio, snow squall warnings will set off the tone alert. They will also send a push notification to your phone if you have the KCRG First Alert Weather app, unless you’ve turned off winter-related notifications.