SNOW SQUALLS: Dangerous winter driving conditions

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Snow in Liberty Township

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

We see snow squalls in the Miami Valley nearly every winter season, even though they are most common in lake effect snow areas.

WHAT IS A SNOW SQUALL?

StormCenter7 Meteorologist Kirstie Zontini describes a snow squall as a burst of snow that quickly drops visibility levels to zero. They are usually accompanied by gusty winds which only make visibility worse as snow blows and falls simultaneously.

WHY ARE SNOW SQUALLS DANGEROUS? 

Snow squalls are very localized. Driving conditions and roadways can look clear and safe one minute, and a minute later, you can't see. Drivers are caught in the whiteout as they are traveling at fair weather speeds which can result in chain reaction rear-end crashes like the incidents below.

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ExploreDecember 8, 2016, Ashtabula County, Ohio I-90 pile up: 

Heavy snow squalls and icy conditions led to a 75 car pile up on I-90 in Ashtabula County, Ohio.

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75 cars collided on I-90 in Ashtabula County, Ohio, December 8, 2016.

75 cars collided on I-90 in Ashtabula County, Ohio, December 8, 2016.
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75 cars collided on I-90 in Ashtabula County, Ohio, December 8, 2016.

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ExploreMarch 24, 2015, Shelby County, Ohio I-75 pile up:

More than 20 cars collided during a snow squall in Shelby County on I-75 between SR 274 and 119.

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A snow squall caused white out conditions on I-75 in Shelby County, Ohio, March 24, 2015.

A snow squall caused white out conditions on I-75 in Shelby County, Ohio, March 24, 2015.
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A snow squall caused white out conditions on I-75 in Shelby County, Ohio, March 24, 2015.

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ExploreJanuary 21, 2013, Butler County, Ohio I-75 pile up: 

More than 50 cars were involved in a pile up on I-75 between Middletown and Monroe on January 21, 2013.

No one was killed but the highway was shutdown for hours as emergency crews rescued drivers trapped in their cars and cleared the highway of debris.

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Snow squalls caused 52 cars to collide on I-75 in Butler County, Ohio, January 21, 2013.

Snow squalls caused 52 cars to collide on I-75 in Butler County, Ohio, January 21, 2013.
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Snow squalls caused 52 cars to collide on I-75 in Butler County, Ohio, January 21, 2013.

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52 cars collided on I-75 in Butler County, Ohio, near Middletown during a snow squall on January 21, 2013.

52 cars collided on I-75 in Butler County, Ohio, near Middletown during a snow squall on January 21, 2013.
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52 cars collided on I-75 in Butler County, Ohio, near Middletown during a snow squall on January 21, 2013.

Stay weather aware this winter no matter where you are.

DOWNLOAD the free WHIO Weather App that will send you audible weather alerts even when you're not in the app. You'll have access to live radar to see where snow is moving in to your area, as well as hour by hour forecasts.

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