The National Weather Service will begin testing a snow squall warning system this winter to help drivers facing dangerous whiteout conditions.
The system will be tested in seven cities including Buffalo, Pittsburgh and Detroit starting January 3. If successful, the system could be rolled out nationally, including to Northeast Ohio, next winter.
Squall warnings will be more targeted and shorter in duration than tradition winter weather advisories and warnings.
They will be similar to thunderstorm and tornado warnings.
“We know the snow squall is unique because it's small in nature; it’s rapid, and a situation where it moves from sunny skies to whiteout and icy roads, and then back to sunny skies again,” said David Soroka, head of winter weather programs for the National Weather Service.
Soroka said the goal is to help drivers avoid hazardous pileups.
“The main folks who are going to be helped are the traveling public, especially on the major interstates,” he said.
Similar testing is also being done in Arizona on a new warning system for dust storms.