The first week of March is barely over, and already this month has been filled with bizarre weather for New York City. The Big Apple was slammed by Winter Storm Riley during the first four days of the month, and now, Winter Storm Quinn is pummeling the city with snow. But the most recent storm isn’t your average blizzard. New Yorkers saw thundersnow today, March 7th.
Just in case you’re wondering, thundersnow is when thunder claps occur during a snow storm. Basically, it’s exactly what it sounds like. The phenomenon is pretty rare, and according to National Geographic, it’s more likely to occur in late winter or early spring. That’s because the conditions for thundersnow to occur are pretty specific: Air closer to the ground must be warmer than the air higher up. This same difference in temperature is what’s responsible for thunderstorms in the summer. Thunder is more likely to occur during a heavy blizzard than a light flurry, so it makes sense that it would come along with the intense snowfall brought by Quinn.
You can even get struck by lightning in a snowstorm. One teacher in Manchester Township, New Jersey, was hit this afternoon. She is currently recovering in the hospital and is in stable condition.
Twitter was in awe of the thundersnow.
As some pointed out, the unusual phenomenon had a bit of an apocalyptic feel.
Even if you don’t live on the East Coast, you might have seen this freaky weather phenomenon before, too. In 2016, thundersnow was reported in Flagstaff, Arizona. And in 2015, a video of the Weather Channel’s Jim Cantore reacting enthusiastically to thundersnow in Massachusetts went viral.
Whether you’ve lived through countless thundersnow storms or it’s your first experience, stay safe during Winter Storm Quinn.