A snow squall warning from the US National Weather Service (NWS) was in effect in the New York City tri-state area until roughly 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, marking the first such warning of the 2019 winter season.
— kris (@kmobsky) December 18, 2019
The warning applied to northeastern New Jersey, New York City, Long Island and southern Connecticut and affected some 13 million people, according to Weather.com.
— . (@SnowWX1990) December 18, 2019
According to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) - the parent agency of the NWS - a snow squall is defined as an “intense, but limited duration, period of moderate to heavy snowfall, accompanied by strong, gusty surface winds and possibly lightning (generally moderate to heavy snow showers).” Snow squalls are different from snow storms because they “fizzle out quickly” and “typically last less than an hour,” the NOAA explains on its website.
— Caroline Orr (@RVAwonk) December 18, 2019
“The sudden white-out conditions combined with falling temperatures produces icy roads in just a few minutes. Squalls can occur where there is no large-scale winter storm in progress and might only produce minor accumulations,” the description adds.
In its alert, the NWS described the snow squall as moving southeastward at 30 mph, also warning that it would cause wind gusts of 40 mph.
— NWS New York NY (@NWSNewYorkNY) December 18, 2019
— Patrick Alba (@patrickthealba) December 18, 2019
— Dino P (@dpanagoulias) December 18, 2019
The NWS introduced snow squall warnings last year. “This new warning aims to bring better situational awareness to drivers and mitigate impacts related to these squalls,” the service wrote in a January 2018 press release.