I was visiting a friend in Flagstaff, AZ this weekend at NAU (Northern Arizona University) (Flagstaff is an hour and a half north of Prescott) and we were working on homework Sunday night when all of a sudden we heard a loud BOOM! For a second we were both incredibly confused seeing that there wasn’t any chance of a Thunderstorm in the forecast for Northern Arizona and it wasn’t even raining outside in fact it was snowing!
We ran to the door of the apartment to peak outside to see other NAU students anxiously looking out into the dark cold cloudy skies of Northern Arizona wondering if we weren’t all losing our minds. A few seconds later that’s when I realized what was actually taking place. I noticed off in the distance a series of lightning strikes flashing around the San Francisco Peaks followed by a mild rumble of steady thunder filling the silence of a quiet cold windy Sunday night — Thunder Snow!.
I have a passion for weather. Being a pilot, it’s something I’ve learned to check periodically throughout my day so being able to witness the very rare phenomenon known as Thunder Snow had to probably be one of the most rewarding experience I have been able to witness while living here in Northern Arizona!
The definition of Thunder Snow is an unusual kind of thunderstorm with snow falling as the primary precipitation instead of rain and occurs in regions where a strong upward motion is present within the cold sector of an extratropical cyclone (Wikipedia). This is one of the many reasons I adore the state of Arizona because you have a front row seat to some of the most amazing and most unique weather events that you may not have the luxury of experiencing in any other states in the United States. All you have to do is step outside and look up!