DENVER (CBS4) – Did you receive a snow squall warning Monday morning? If not, you may have heard about them. Several were issued around 8 a.m. as a strong cold front moving through the state created snow squalls.

(source: CBS)

A snow squall is a short-lived burst of snow that is accompanied by very strong and gusty wind. It can create white-out or blizzard-like conditions for a short period of time, making travel extremely dangerous and in some cases temporarily impossible. A squall can produce up to an inch of snow in a very short period of time.

RELATED: Colorado Weather: New This Winter, Watch For Snow Squall Warnings

Snow squall warnings were introduced this season in Colorado by the National Weather Service to alert the public of rapidly changing conditions in a specific area. They are geared toward motorists. A snow squall warning will last anywhere from 30-60 minutes.

It’s the same concept as a severe thunderstorm or flash flood warning during the spring or summer, where one location can experience potentially life-threatening weather while most of the region is relatively quiet. A snow squall warning is only used if the weather is highly localized, like we saw Monday morning. It would not be used during large-scale weather events like a winter storm.

There have been a handful of snow squall warnings issued this season but Monday’s event was the first example of widespread warnings being issued during a peak travel time. The National Weather Service office in Pueblo issued their first ever snow squall warning for the Pikes Peak region around Colorado Springs.

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Chris Spears

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