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Meteorologists Work to Forecast Snow Squall Events After Deadly Accident

Events like what happened on Wednesday Morning are extremely hard to forecast, but Meteorologists at the National Weather Service are paving the way to be able to forecast snow squalls with better accuracy. Meteorologist Bryan Schuerman has the details from State College.
STATE COLLEGE, CENTRE COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA (WHAG) - Events like what happened on Wednesday Morning are extremely hard to forecast, but Meteorologists at the National Weather Service are paving the way to be able to forecast snow squalls with better accuracy, hopefully, that will save lives and prevent tragedies like the one our community experienced yesterday.  

This was the scene along Interstate 81 in Berkeley County, West Virginia on Wednesday morning. Drivers said from out the blue skies emerged a sudden, a blinding snow squall.
 
"These snow squalls and snow streamers can drop very heavy amounts of snow in a short period of time. They can drop an inch of snow in 30 minutes, 45 minutes, And can really impact driving conditions”, said Peter Jung, Warning Coordination Meteorologist at the National Weather Service Forecast Office in State College, Pennsylvania
 
Wednesday morning's snow squall dropped close to an inch of snow in just a matter of minutes, but perhaps just as scary is nobody knew this was coming. In fact, even with all of the tools available to the National Weather Service, these types of storms often go undetected until it's too late.
 
Jung says, "They really fall underneath the threshold of our warning products. There's some products we can issue such as Special Weather Statements to alert the public that these heavy snow events are coming.”
 
The silver lining among these white-outs is technology is improving, and experts have made significant progress that could make it easier to accurately predict these types of snow events.
 
"I think one of the big improvements, not just in our office but in weather forecasting in general, is the development of these high resolution models that really can pick out of some these little features rather than the large scale models for the entire country or the entire hemisphere”, Jung says.
 
Meteorologists in State College are currently using these models in an experimental program to try to stay one step ahead of when the snow might fall.
 
Jung adds,"We have an agreement set up with the Pennsylvania State Police and PENNDOT to send them notifications that something might be coming a few days in advance it's kind of a real general outlook, but kinda giving people a heads up that something is coming.”
 
Right now, this program is just being used along the Interstate 80 Corridor in Northern Pennsylvania because, that’s there these snow squalls normally occur most frequently due to the proximity to the Great Lakes, but down the road, this program could be expanded to cover more area, because as we learned yesterday, if the atmospheric conditions are right, these little snow squalls can cause a lot of problems.
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