Thundersnow phenomenon explained as Met Office warns of ‘brighter’ lightning

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The Met Office has issued a warning over a remarkable rare weather phenomenon.

The bizarre weather is known as 'thundersnow' and the meteorological experts have warned that it may well occur in the UK again very soon.

Frequent heavy snow showers are expected across Northern Ireland and Scotland and the Met Office has issued a yellow warning for snow and lightning from 5pm today, February 23, until tomorrow, February 24.

A yellow wind warning is also in place for Northeast England and parts of Scotland from 6am today until 6pm tomorrow evening.

Thundersnow is the electrifying frozen icing on the terrible cake of recent weather.

Warnings spell more bad news after Storm Dudley, Storm Eunice and Storm Franklin battered the UK with severe winds, with Storm Gladys now also expected.

So what is thundersnow and where in the UK can it be seen from?

What is thundersnow?

  • Weather maps show snow hitting millions of Brits from today as Met Office issue warning

Thundersnow is simply the combination of snow and lightning that occurs when thunderstorms brew up in wintry conditions

The Met Office explained: "When thunderstorms form in wintry conditions they can sometimes give rise to heavy downpours of snow which are often called 'thundersnow'."

Is thundersnow dangerous?

According to the experts, the rare show only occurs a few times a year and though it is an exciting meteorological development, should be treated with extra caution as snow can clog up roads.

The weather in Scotland and Northern Ireland is expected to bring frequent heavy snow showers, high winds and lighting in the affected area.

What does thundersnow look like?

Think of snow, then think of lightning, and you've got the idea of what thundersnow looks like.

It's even said to look brighter than normal lighting as the brilliant white-blue of the electrical bolts flash through the sky, due to its light reflecting on the snowflakes falling gently to the ground nearby.

Lightning is certainly spectacular at the best of times and people often enjoy a bit of lightning-spotting whilst tucked up safely inside their homes, or listening out for the familiar rumble that sounds as though it is an almost supernatural force.

That sound is a little harder to hear when there is snow, however, as the snow masks some of the sound.

The Met Office said: "Interestingly, the snow contained within the thunderstorm acts to dampen the sound of the thunder. While the thunder from a typical thunderstorm might be heard many miles away, the thunder during a thundersnow event will only be heard if you are within 2 to 3 miles of the lightning."

  • Met Office
  • UK Weather
  • Snow

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