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Posted at 10:33 AM ET, 01/04/2012

The cloud structure of snow showers (PHOTOS)

The leading edge of a snow shower moves southeast across Montgomery County Tuesday afternoon. This photo was taken from a 5th floor office building in Tysons Corner, Virginia at 3:07 p.m.

As I drove into the parking lot of my Tysons Corner office building at noon on Tuesday, my car’s thermometer read 28 degrees. I noticed dark clouds gathering on the western horizon so I decided to take my camera into the building. My office is located on the 5th floor and offers a good view of the sky.

Between 1 and 2 p.m, scattered snow showers and snow flurries became visible in the northern sky. They were large cumulus clouds that resembled “pop-up” summertime showers. The base of the clouds were dark small shafts with precipitation falling.

By mid-afternoon, the clouds became much larger and began to resemble small thunderstorms. The snow showers and snow squalls were arranged in well-defined lines that moved northwest to southeast across our area. One snow squall over Montgomery County looked particularly threatening. Its photo is displayed below.

Read below for more snow shower cloud photos.

A vigorous snow shower moves across Montgomery County toward Prince George’s County.

The snow showers moved very quickly, and unlike thunderstorms which have dark rain shafts below the cloud deck, the snow showers had white, wispy shafts of snow that were blown out ahead of the squall. It was an unusual sight for our area.

In Tysons, I never saw the first snow flake fall. Snow showers passed by me in all directions, but not overhead. I followed the radar and snow reports at the Capital Weather Gang and I got a call from home to tell me the ground was coated white near Oakton, Virginia. Despite the lack of snow in Tysons, the view of snow showers and snow squalls was quite amazing.

Shafts of snow falling over southern Montgomery County, northwest of Washington, D.C.

A line of snow showers west of Tysons Corner.

A southern edge of a snow shower moves just to the north of Tysons Corner.

A line of snow showers west of Tysons Corner.

A well-defined line of snow showers pass east of Tysons Corner over Washington, D.C. and Prince George’s County. This panorama was constructed with three individual photographs.

By  |  10:33 AM ET, 01/04/2012

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