A white squall is just as the name inplies. it takes place at sea and all you see is a white wall of rain coming at you . Once into it it heavy rain and wind with very rough seas. Generally short lived. The Pride of Baltimore was sunk by this type of squall in 1986. They later made a movie about it.
The name has nothing to do with the rain but the color of the water which is whipped into a fenzy and turned to foam and whitecaps. There is almost never any rain involved. They are less rare at see yet quite common over our very own Great Lakes.
They are all TYPES of squalls. Here in the US there is a definitve term for a squall and certain criteria must be met for it to be considered a "Squall". That is, a sudden increase of at least 18mph in the wind speed and sustaining at at least 25 mph for at least 1 minute. There MANY different types of "Squalls" all basically describing a very similiar phenomenon.
1. Just curious but why are "white squalls" more prevalent on the Great Lakes than at sea?
2. Yes, squalls as local winds do have many names the world over. Aren't many of these of katabatic origin? I'm wondering if these are generally wind-only or accompanied by rain, etc?
3. I'm currently reading a book by Daniel S Parrott entitled, "Tall Ships Down."
It tells of five tall ships who never returned: - Pamir
(1984-squall), Pride of Baltimore
(1986-squall, and Maria Assumpta
(1995-driven onto rocks). Notably, three succumbed to sudden squall-related conditions.