Thunder in February?

Just after noon today a line of light precipitation moved through the region from the west bringing gusty winds and dropping temperatures.  As the line moved over Denver it was met with warm, northeasterly winds ranging from 15-25 mph which provided a good convergence zone towards the southeast metro area enabling for a bit of convection which yielded some thundersnow southeast of Parker and into northwestern Elbert County.  Lightning during a snow storm is one of the more rare occurrences in weather.  Generally you need warm moist surface air and cold dry air aloft in order to get the type of storm to produce lightning.  In this case, relatively moist air was being advected at the surface while much colder air was aloft, almost like a spring storm set up.  This allowed rapid storm development along with lightning, while temperatures remained cold enough to only produce sleet and snow.  Below is a screen capture of the thundersnow cell as it moved just east of the Parker area:

 

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