An unusual type of winter storm, 'thundersnow' is exactly what is sounds like – thunder (and sometimes lightning) happening while snowfall is taking place. While the effects of these storms are rarely heard or seen due to the sound-damping quality of snow and the thickness of snow clouds limiting visibility above, that wasn't the case when a recent thundersnow rolled through Steamboat Springs.
As captured by Simon O'Farrell and published by 9NEWS, the video below shows a rather intense moment when a thundersnow delivers a flash of light, along with an earth-shaking rumble.
Thundersnow typically occurs in Colorado when a snowy storm front is moving through, often accompanied by a period of heavy snow fall and strong winds. This means that visibility during a thundersnow is often quite limited. It's also worth mentioning that thundersnow tends to produce lightning with a positive polarity, considered to be more destructive than the negatively-charged lightning that is generally produced by the standard summer thunderstorm.
If caught in a thundersnow, avoid objects that may attract lightning. This risk is one reason why thundersnow will result in temporary lift closures at ski resorts. It's also important to keep your bearings if visibility becomes limited. Avoid traveling through terrain when you're unable to spot landmarks and are unable to keep track of your path. Varying visibility and constantly changing terrain conditions make it crucial to travel with a compass and map that you know how to use during winter expeditions.