Q:

How do blizzards form?

A:

Quick Answer

A blizzard requires three things to form: temperatures below freezing at ground level and in the clouds to allow snow to form, enough moisture to allow clouds and eventually snow to form, and a mass of warm air rising over a mass of cold air that creates strong winds. Bizzards are typically formed when a high-pressure system meets a low-pressure system.

Know More

Full Answer

Not every severe snowstorm is considered a blizzard, and in fact, a blizzard doesn't even need to involve much snow. The National Weather Service has a set of three criteria that must be met for a storm to be considered a blizzard. First, there needs to be blowing or falling snow that results in a reduction of visibility to less than one-quarter of a mile. Second, the storm needs to produce sustained winds or frequent wind gusts in excess of 35 mph, and finally, the previous two conditions need to continue for at least three hours.

Many blizzards do not involve heavy or wet snow but instead very light snow, which has quite minimal water content and easily is blown around by the wind. Even though the East Coast of the United States typically gets more snow, blizzards are much more common in the northern Midwest due to the high wind factor in that area.

Learn more about Storms

Related Questions

  • Q:

    How are blizzards predicted or forecast?

    A:

    According to the National Snow & Ice Data Center, blizzard prediction relies on modeling weather systems, as well as predicting temperatures. When a weather system moves through an area experiencing near- or sub-freezing temperatures, it can create the potential for anything from freezing rain to a full-fledged blizzard.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Where do blizzards happen most often?

    A:

    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.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What damage do blizzards cause?

    A:

    The weight of the fallen snow during a blizzard may collapse roofs or bring down trees, power lines or telephone lines. The snow also may result in dangerous driving and whiteout conditions, leading motorists to get into accidents or to become lost or stranded. Blizzards may bring extremely cold temperatures, which increase the risk of frostbite. Cold temperatures can also cause water pipes to freeze.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How much damage does a blizzard do?

    A:

    A blizzard's strong winds can knock down trees, power lines and utility poles. Coastal storms can cause flooding and beach erosion. Blizzards occurring in the west may produce damage to roofs and other structures due to high winds gusting to 100 mph, or more, off mountaintops.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore