A cold front will move across Southeast Wisconsin late Friday afternoon through Friday night. With the front we will see very strong winds and snow showers. Winds gusts of 50 mph are possible, which could cause damage to tree branches and blow around unsecured objects.
In addition to wind, we have snow to deal with. The combination of strong winds, moisture, and some instability will give us the set up for wind-driven snow and snow squalls.
A snow squall is a burst of intense snow and wind. This type of winter storm set-up can cause a sharp drop in visibility, posing a major hazard for motorists. Whiteout conditions can trigger chain reaction accidents on roadways.
The National Weather Service can issue Snow Squall Warnings when snow squalls are imminent or occurring. These can cause cell phone Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs) to active on cell phones within the warning area. These warnings, like Severe Thunderstorm Warnings, usually last between 30-60 minutes and are focused on a small area with the highest potential for impact. If you notice that this warning has been issued, it's a good idea to assess whether travel plans are necessary or could be put off to a time when it's safer to hit the roads. That, or consider finding an alternate route through an area not experiencing snow squalls.
Total snow accumulations of less than 1" are expected for most of the area, but again, even with minimal totals, road conditions could be a problem.
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