Blizzards are classified as conditions that prevail for three hours or more and include frequent gusts, or sustained winds, of up to 35 miles per hour, along with considerable amounts of blowing or falling snow. These conditions can greatly reduce visibility, sometimes to less than a quarter of a mile.
While the dangers associated with winter weather vary across the country, most Americans are likely to experience winter weather regarded as severe at some point. Winter storms in America range from moderate snowfall to blizzards that are accompanied by wind driven, blinding snow that lasts for a number of days. Most often, these storms are characterized by extremely low temperatures, along with freezing rain, ice, sleet, and strong winds. The main concern around winter storms is the weather’s ability to disrupt or knock out power, communication and heat services to residential and commercial areas.
In extremely bad weather, blizzards can last for many days. The extreme cold conditions combined with heavy snowfall have been known to immobilize entire regions, isolating the inhabitants and disrupting essential services. A blizzard warning is issued when frequent or sustained winds exceed 35 miles per hour and are accompanied by snowfall that severely reduces visibility, causing dangerous driving conditions.Learn More
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 >
According to the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, the conditions that can spawn a tornado occur so suddenly that accurately predicting a tornado more than a few minutes ahead of time is extremely difficult. The National Weather Service issues tornado watches when conditions are conducive to tornado formation in order to keep citizens alert and listening to weather broadcasts for storm warnings.Full Answer >
When a tornado watch is issued, it means that conditions are conducive for the formation of tornadoes. A tornado watch covers a larger area, typically about 25,000 square miles over several hours, whereas a tornado warning covers a smaller region over a shorter time period.Full Answer >
Storms classified as hurricanes generally originate in the tropical latitudes of the northern Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean east of the International Date Line. Tropical cyclones west of the International Date Line in the northern Pacific are called typhoons, and those that originate in the Indian Ocean or southern Pacific Ocean are simply called cyclones.Full Answer >