Written by John Face
March 4, 2023
Yesterday’s storm did exactly what the weather forecasters said it would, it dumped heavy wet snow and in the Albion area and brought everything to a halt. It’s rare, but not abnormal, to see snow events in March. The snow has caused some power outages in the state but fortunately the Albion area appearers to have been saved that, we saw enough with the ice storm.
This storm did supply rare “thundersnow”. I personally have heard it in my lifetime on two different occasions, but it is so rare that when weather forecasters on the Weather Channel see and hear it they act like a kid on Christmas morning. Here is an official description of Thundersnow:
“Thundersnow, also known as a winter thunderstorm or a thundersnowstorm, is a kind of thunderstorm with snow falling as the primary precipitation instead of rain. It is considered a rare phenomenon. 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 thunderstorm, but the top of the cumulonimbus cloud is usually quite low. In addition to snow, graupel or hail may fall as well. The heavy snowfall tends to muffle the sound of the thunder so that it sounds more like a low rumble than the loud, sharp bang that is heard during regular thunderstorms.
There are three main causes of thundersnow such as a normal snowstorm that sustains strong vertical mixing which allows for favorable conditions for lightning and thunder to occur. It can also occur from the lake effect or ocean effect thunderstorm which is produced by cold air passing over relatively warm water; this effect commonly produces snow squalls over the Great Lakes“.
Multiple people throughout the Albion area said they saw it. I personally heard/saw it twice last night. So yeah, last night’s storm was a strong one.
So, as you dig out from the storm here are a few tips:
- Have the right type of shovel. The ones with bent shafts are good because they’re designed to reduce the amount of work you do by 16%, according to Gallizzi.
- Spray the shovel with Pam or some other oil-based spray to prevent the snow from sticking. It makes for easier snow tossing.
- Shovel frequently as the snow flies rather than wait until the end. A few inches at a time is far easier on the body.
- Bend those knees. Always use your leg muscles to lift rather than bending at the waist. Keep the back straight as you stand and tighten the tummy core muscles each time.
- Hold the shovel close to the body with one hand close to the snow load as a fulcrum, lightening what you lift. Make short tosses of snow rather than long ones, which can wrench the back or shoulder.
- Faced with snow depths of a foot or more, pick up the snow in slices of 3-inch to 4-inch segments until reaching the ground.
- Move smoothly and evenly without rushing, taking frequent breaks.
- Have water nearby to drink. Keep your hat on to maintain body warmth.
- Head indoors immediately if your chest starts hurting or you feel lightheaded or short of breath.
- Be wary of classic signs of a heart attack: squeezing pain in the chest, pain that radiates up to your left shoulder and down the left arm, or cold sweat.
- Walk carefully as you shovel, “like a penguin,” emergency physician Dr. Eric Lavonas at Denver Health Medical Center said. Keep the stride short and feet close together.
- Clear snow from in front of downspouts which can freeze and back up. Clear street gutters for melt-off to flow more easily. Pick sunny spots for the snow piles so they melt faster.
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