snow and thunder

ASFAIK, thunder and lightning does not occurr during a snow storm…correct?

Does snow/cold prevent lightning discharges, or have you witnessed thunder/lightning when snowing?

I have heard thunder during snowstorms several times. Lightning seems to be a bit more rare, but I’ve seen it a few times.

this link gives a pretty good explanation of how it happens.

I do recall that in all the times I’ve seen and heard T&L, its been snowing VERY heavily, which seems to be a requirement.

I have heard thunder during a snow storm.

During the Great Blizzard of '93, which dumped 18 inches of snow on central Alabama, I experienced both thunder and lightning during a snowstorm.

Lighting and the subsequent DO occur during snowstorms.

I’ve been skiing several times, at Alta in Utah, in various storms when the lifts had to be shut down due to lightning danger. They do get everyone off the lift first.

One of the problems, however, is that thunder also sounds similar to an avalanche. So sometimes the ski patrol has a whole different problem on their hands.

I have seen the lightning, though. Pretty wicked seeing the sky light up in the middle of a snowstorm.

Lighting and the subsequent thunder DO occur during snowstorms.

You know, without lightning, there is no thunder…

I have seen lightning in a snow storm twice in my life, both times is was very eery, the snow diffused the light and it was hard to figure out where the strike took place.

There is an old superstition in England that if there is lightning during a snowstorm then someone important has died.


This link suggests that you need a strong temperature contrast (very cold air over warm, moist air) normally associated with powerful storms in order to get the charge separation that wil lead to lightning discharge. So while you could very well get heavy snowfall during thunder snow, the high rate of snowfall doesn’t provoke the lightning. I’ve witnessed thunder snow a couple of times, and while the snow was coming down pretty well I have to admit that I’ve seen other heavy snowfalls without a thunder & lightning accompaniment.

Interesting factoid I saw somewhere and can’t find the ref. for now: Thunder snow has become more common in the Arctic in recent years, and is apparently a phenomenon that the Inuit were not familiar with. Could it be… global warming at work?

We had thunder and lightning during a snowstorm here in Akron, Ohio last year. Also it happened several years back. One thing I do remember about them is that after the storm passed, it warmed significantly up and the snow started to melt. I was working at a restaurant during the storm several years back and we got about a foot of snow in a couple of hours and it turned into heavy slush as I tried to shovel it.