A climatology of electrified convective snowfall events and their radar signatures
Wassel, Gregory Alan
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An updated climatology of electrified convective snowfall events, defined as snow occurring with lightning and thunder, is presented for 1960-2005. Results show the most common locations for electrified convective snowfall development were from Utah through the Midwest and Northeast. Also, a higher frequency of events occurred late in the cool season, specifically March and April. A diurnal maximum of events existed in the evening to early morning. Cyclonic and frontal environments were the most frequent environments associated with electrified convective snowfall; other types examined were lake effect/enhanced, orographic, and upslope. Five case studies revealed that environments with elevated convection, a low-level jet, and a low level deformation zone are conducive to electrified convective snowfall development. An environment dominated by conditional symmetric instability (CSI) was also illustrated by cross sections of the cases. Coincident radar imagery and lightning data showed a structure of heavy snowfall lines or a banding pattern.