So why are snow thunderstorms so rare? I researched a bit and it said that it is because there is less moisture in the air. But the percentage of thunderstorms while raining seems much higher than the the percentage of thunderstorms while snowing. Less moisture would only prove why there are less snowstorms correct?

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    $\begingroup$ Some people call that Thundersnow. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thundersnow I sometimes call it snunder, but people give me a funny look when I do that. $\endgroup$
    – userLTK
    Jan 3 '17 at 7:44
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    $\begingroup$ @userLTK I like snunder! :) $\endgroup$
    – L.B.
    Jan 3 '17 at 18:33
  • $\begingroup$ @userLTK snuder sounds great! :) $\endgroup$ Jan 3 '17 at 20:00
  • $\begingroup$ Another one weather.com/science/news/… $\endgroup$
    Jan 3 '17 at 21:41
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    $\begingroup$ Lightning (and hence thunder) is mostly produced by the strong convective activity in clouds (which in turn is driven by e.g. ground heating), meaning you get towering cumulo-nimbus clouds. That doesn't happen as much in winter, so you get snow mostly from stratus-type clouds. Just like in summer you get rain from those kinds of clouds, but no lightning. $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Jan 3 '17 at 21:49

Thunder is a manifestation of lightning, the sudden discharge of (static) electrical potential between cloud and ground, or cloud and cloud. That potential is built up through convection of vapor from low to high altitudes, typically tens of thousands of feet. Though possible in winter, though unusual, this kind of convection occurs mostly during summer months when extended sunshine bakes the earth surface, causing upward atmospheric movement of anything above.


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