“Thundersnow” reported in NJ today. What is it?

    You may have been sipping your coffee earlier today and thought, “Did I just hear thunder?” 

    You’re not alone. Jersey Shore Hurricane News contributors reported thunder and lighting throughout Monmouth, Middlesex, Essex, and Bergen counties beginning around 8:45 a.m. 

    “Bolt of lightening, thunder, and pea sized hail a little while ago in Asbury Park,” wrote Sheila Barry. Shaun Malanaphy wrote that he was awakened in Monroe by “one of the loudest rolling thunder claps” he has ever heard. “We have had it all in Manalapan this morning. Rain, freezing rain, snow, and thunder!” wrote Peggy Eastmond Le Compte. 

    On Facebook, the National Weather Service office in New York, NY commented on the “amazing dynamics in the atmosphere this morning.”

    Radar confirmed thunderstorms, but thundersnow? What’s that?

    From wikipedia:

    Thundersnow, also known as a winter thunderstorm or a thunder snowstorm, is an unusual kind of thunderstorm with snow falling as the primary precipitation instead of rain. It typically falls in regions of strong upward motion within the cold sector of an extratropical cyclone. Thermodynamically, it is not different from any other type of thunderstorms but the top of the cumulonimbus is usually quite low. As well as snow, graupel or hail falls.

    One unique aspect of thundersnow is that the snowfall acts as an acoustic suppressor of the thunder. The thunder from a typical thunderstorm can be heard many miles away, while the thunder from thundersnow can usually only be heard within a two to three mile radius from the lightning. In the United States, March is the peak month of formation, and on average, only 6.3 events are reported per year.

    So there you have it. Cross it off your bucket list. 

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