What is thundersnow? The unusual weather condition set to blast UK is rarer than you'd think
Britain is set to be blasted by more bad weather as gale force winds and snow make half term miserable for many kids.
But one of the most bizarre terms you’ll be hearing from weather forecasters is ‘thundersnow’.
Put simply, thundersnow happens when there’s snowfall during a thunderstorm.
But the Chronicle explains that there’s a bit more to it than that – and it’s actually a pretty rare phenomenon in the UK.
Here’s everything you need to know….
What causes thundersnow and why is it rare?
The rare phenomenon occurs when thunderstorms – which are much more common in summer months – form in wintry conditions.
If the weather is cold the rain associated with a thunderstorm can then fall as snow and thus is called thundersnow.
It is less common than normal thunderstorms because it occurs in the colder months of the year.
Eleanor Bell, principal meteorologist of The Weather Channel, said: “There needs to be an upward motion for the thunder to develop, warmer air trying to rise under colder air.
“It is less common than normal thunderstorms because it occurs in the colder months of the year when the air close to the ground is cold enough to produce snow.”
Will you get thunder and lightning?
Yes! The Met Office said: “Interestingly, the snow contained within the thunderstorm acts to dampen the sound of the thunder and while a the thunder from a typical thunderstorm might be head many miles away, the thunder during a thundersnow event will only be heard if you within two to three miles of the lightning.
“When thundersnow occurs at night the lightning seems brighter – this is because the lightning reflects off the snowflakes.”
Is it dangerous?
It produces heavy snowfall rates of up to 5cm to 10cm per hour. It can severely limit visibility when travelling.
Experts remind people to check the forecasts before they set out on a journey and take precautions if they’re driving in areas that are at risk of snowfall.