BOSTON — The Weather Channel meteorologist Jim Cantore loves the weather. He really, really loves the weather. Cantore could not contain himself this week in Boston when he experienced thundersnow not once, not twice, not three times. but six times. What is thundersnow? Here’s what Weather.com said about the weather phenomenon.
Thunderstorms accompanied by snow are usually of a different character than the “normal” thunderstorm. The latter are usually rather tall, narrow storms containing a rising updraft of warm, moist air that has risen in a layer from near the surface that may go upward to 40,000 feet or more. Temperatures at the surface are usually well above freezing.
Snowstorms, by contrast, are mostly associated with rather extensive layers of flat, relatively shallow cloud. Precipitation in the clouds is usually formed below 20,000 feet, as sketched in the first diagram on the right. Upward and downward motions in ordinary snowstorms are rather gentle. The exception is lake-effect snow, where the clouds are created by heating of air moving over relatively warm lakes. Lake-effect snowstorms have narrow clouds shaped more like ordinary thunderstorms, and actually sometimes develop thunder and lightning.