How this new weather warning can save lives in Michigan.

Snow squalls are one of the most dangerous weather patterns. They occur when snowfall comes quickly and leaves just as mysteriously. This weather pattern is just as dangerous as blizzard conditions because of the abrupt change. Drivers will start out their journey with clear roads and then get stuck in whiteout conditions within minutes, which is often not enough time to pull over or find a safe spot to wait the storm out.

The National Weather Service will be issuing a new warning starting January 3, 2018, to prevent this danger. They will last one hour to maybe a few hours and will be heard around southeast Michigan. Rich Pollman, the Warning Coordination Meteorologist for the National Weather Service office in White Lake that serves southeast Michigan, said:

“We really don’t have a good advisory or warning in our current tool belt to warn people of the hazard, and this snow squall warning gives us that new tool to warn the public so they can slow down and hopefully save lives.”

snow squall

These are the counties that will be issuing snow squall warnings starting January 3, 2018. Photo courtesy of MLive.

The need for this new weather advisory is obvious. In December 2016, a snow squall caused a 53 vehicle crash on I-96 in Livingston County. The event claimed the lives of three people. Perhaps if the snow squall warning would have been in effect, this tragedy could have been prevented.

A snow squall warning will be issued in the following conditions: “white-out conditions with visibilities below 1/4 mile, subfreezing road temperatures allowing quick build-up of snowfall,” and “dangerous and potentially life-threatening travel conditions.”

Snow squall warnings will be issued in State College and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Buffalo and Binghamton, New York, Burlington, Vermont, Cheyenne, Wyoming and our very own metro Detroit. Be ready for it, January 3!

Do you have any tips for driving in the snow? Share them with us in the comments below.

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