blizzard is a sever snowstorm usually accompanied by high
winds, blowing snow and very cold temperatures. Some blizzards
can dump large amount of heavy snow. In March 2003, Denver,
CO was hit by a blizzard that dropped as much as three
feet of heavy, wet snow. The snow was so heavy that roofs
collapsed on hundreds of homes and businesses.
The National Weather Service defines a
blizzard as large amounts of blowing or falling snow with
winds in excess of 35 miles per hour and visibility of
1/4 mile or less for at least 3 hours. Severe winter storms
do not need to meet this definition to be dangerous. Large
amounts of snow or cold temperatures alone can also be
Blizzards and severe snowstorms have a
number of dangers. Blowing snow can cause whiteout conditions
that make driving dangerous. High winds coupled with low
temperatures can create wind chill effects that pose a
greater danger and can cause frostbite or hypothermia.
For example, with an air temperature of 0° and a 30
mph wind, the air against your skill will feel like -26°.
At this temperature, you can experience frostbite in only
30 minutes. See the wind chill chart below for more information.
You do not have to be outside for blizzards
to be dangerous. Blizzards can also cause problems in
your car or home. The key to minimizing the effects of
blizzards is staying aware and being prepared.
The National Weather Service issues warnings when severe
winter storms are likely. Pay attention to them. Also,
make sure you home and car are properly equipped.