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.Know More
The National Weather Service describes a blizzard as large amounts of falling, or blowing, snow, with winds in excess of 35 mph and a visibility of less than one-quarter mile for a period of greater than three hours. When these conditions are imminent, a blizzard warning is issued. Traveling by car becomes extremely dangerous, or impossible due to whiteout conditions and blowing snow. Strong winds and cold temperatures can also combine to create dangerous wind chills, which could lead to frostbite and hypothermia.
The worst blizzard in United States history occurred in March 1888 and impacted areas from the Chesapeake Bay to Maine. Washington, Philadelphia and Boston were paralyzed, according to the National Weather Service. Snow amounts ranging from 40 to 50 inches were recorded in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Massachusetts. Snow drifts reached 40 to 50 feet high, and 400 people were killed as a result of the storm.
In January 2005 a blizzard hit the lower Great Lakes region. Record snowfall amounts were seen in southern New England. The Boston area saw snowfall rates of three to five inches per hour. Winds gusted to 85 mph and parts of Massachusetts were buried under 6-foot snow drifts.Learn more about Storms
Thunderstorms cause hail when strong winds push raindrops upward into the atmosphere where the extremely cold air supercools the water and causes it to freeze into spheres of ice. This can occur several times, with balls of ice falling and then being lifted by updrafts, collecting condensation as they go. This results in a distinct layering in hailstones each time a layer of liquid water freezes on the surface.Full Answer >
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 Accuweather, for a snowstorm to be classified a blizzard, it needs winds of at least 35 miles per hour, and blowing or falling snow must reduce visibility to less than a quarter of a mile. If the storm sustains these features for at least three hours, it is officially categorized as a blizzard.Full Answer >
The damage a tornado can do varies on the size, strength and location. A mile-wide tornado with 200-mph winds can level an entire town, whereas a small tornado with 80-mph winds in an unpopulated area may cause no damage at all.Full Answer >