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Transcript of Blizzards
A blizzard is a severe snowstorm characterized by strong sustained winds of at least 56 km/h (35 mph) and lasting for a long period of time – typically three hours or more.
How do blizzards form?
A nor'easter is a macro-scale storm along the East Coast of the United States and Atlantic Canada; it gets its name from the direction the wind is coming from.
The usage of the term in North America comes from the wind associated with many different types of storms some of which can form in the North Atlantic Ocean and some of which form as far south as the Gulf of Mexico. Although,The term is most often used in the coastal areas of New England and Atlantic Canada.
In the United States, storm systems powerful enough to cause blizzards usually form when the jet stream dips far to the south, allowing cold, dry polar air from the north to clash with warm, humid air moving up from the south.
They are most common in the
, and the
northeastern states along the coast
, and less common in the Pacific Northwest.When cold, moist air from the Pacific Ocean moves eastward to the Rocky Mountains and the Great Plains, and warmer, moist air moves north from the Gulf of Mexico, all that is needed is a movement of cold polar air moving south to form potential blizzard conditions that may extend from the Texas panhandle to the Great Lakes.
United States storm systems
Storm of the Century
, also known as the
Great Blizzard of 1993
, was a large cyclonic storm that formed over the Gulf of Mexico on
March 12, 1993
, and dissipated in the North Atlantic Ocean on
. It is unique for its intensity, massive size and wide-reaching effect. At its height, the storm stretched from Canada towards Central America, but its main impact was on the Eastern United States and Cuba. The cyclone moved through the Gulf of Mexico, and then through the Eastern United States before moving into Canada.Areas as far south as central Alabama and Georgia received 15 to 20 cm (6 to 8 in) of snow and areas such as Birmingham, Alabama, received up to 30 cm (12 in) with isolated reports of 41 cm (16 in). Even the Florida Panhandle reported up to 10 cm.
The storm of the century
Blizzards occur most often on mountaintops. In the United States, common locations for blizzards include Denali in Alaska, Mount Washington in New Hampshire and Mount Rainier in Washington.
The most widespread North American blizzard conditions occur in the northern and central Great Plains due to a combination of intense cyclones and the relatively flat terrain of the region.
Blizzards in the Great Plains most frequently occur during the winter, but they have taken place in the spring and autumn as well. Blizzards also commonly occur along the immediate coastal areas and nearshore waters of the Northeast and the Great Lakes.
Where do blizzards mostly occur?
Earth & Space science
1. Cold air (below freezing) is needed to make snow.
2. Moisture is needed to form clouds and precipitation.
3. Warm, rising air is needed to form clouds and cause precipitation.
What makes blizzards dangerous?
Blizzards can create life-threatening conditions. Traveling by automobile can become difficult or even impossible due to "whiteout" conditions and drifting snow. Whiteout conditions occur most often with major storms that produce a drier, more powdery snow.
The strong winds and cold temperatures accompanying blizzards can combine to create another danger. The wind chill factor is the amount of cooling one "feels" due to the combination of wind and temperature. During blizzards, with the combination of cold temperatures and strong winds, very low wind chill values can occur. It is not uncommon in the Midwest to have wind chills below -60F during blizzard conditions. Exposure to such low wind chill values can result in frostbite or hypothermia.