I’ve always wondered what the criteria were for a blizzard. I thought it was simply lots of blowing snow and cold temperatures. Apparently these are only a portion of what defines a true blizzard. I’ve provided 7 facts on blizzards in the list below. See if you knew any of these great facts!
It’s actually possible to have blizzard conditions without snowfall. Most people think snow falling in a thick mass of flakes, but even loose snow that has already been on the ground for a few days can be picked up by the wind and tossed about. This means that 3-day old fluffy snow can help to create blizzard conditions if the wind is just right.
Anything less than 35mph is considered to be merely ‘strong wind’. Great gusts that go over the 35mph mark are still considered to be blizzard conditions. The wind has to be constantly blowing in between these extreme bursts of wind.
This is commonly referred to as a ‘white out’. I’ve only seen this happen a couple of times and it is very scary! It is definitely a weather condition that makes driving impossible.
When I’m doing something fun, 3 hours flies right by, but during a blizzard, 3 hours seems like an eternity. This is definitely a time when it’s best to sit tight, grab a warm blanket, and sit on the couch with a warm cup of hot chocolate.
The extreme wind and cold during a blizzard cause the temperature to feel much colder than it actually is. For instance, when the wind is constantly blowing at 30 to 35mph and the temperature outside is 0, the cold air feels closer to negative 28 degrees once it hits your skin. This extreme cold causes frostbite very rapidly.
Storms that form along the Atlantic coast move parallel to the eastern coast of the US and cause blizzards to occur. These Nor’ Easters pick up a lot of moisture from the Atlantic Ocean and then dump tons of snow on the Northeastern states, as well as some of the Midwestern states.
More than 400 people died during this blizzard, which occurred between March 11 and March 14, 1888. Many of the deaths were caused inadvertently; some people died in fires that couldn’t be put out because firehouses were closed. People were trapped because of the drifts blocking the railroad tracks and trains were a main form of transportation back then.
Do you know of any additional tidbits that you could add to my list of 7 facts on blizzards? If you’ve ever had the chance to experience a blizzard, then feel free to tell a bit about what worried you most of all. I love the snow, but I’m not very fond of extreme weather conditions!
Top Photo Credit: spudart
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