Societal Impacts of Blizzards in the Conterminous United States, 1959–2000
Many individuals think of tornadoes and hurricanes when considering weatherrelated storms. However, severe winter storms are significant natural hazards as they cause disruptions to transportation, damage to buildings, closure of schools and businesses, loss of electricity, and hazards to human health (Rooney 1967; Helburn 1982). Geographers have a strong tradition of examining various natural hazards. Mileti (1999: 302) updated the hazards assessment in the United States pioneered by White and Haas (1975), and stated that “a blizzard map” was needed for the United States. Additionally, research regarding climate change identified a need for a reference baseline for climate model validation to identify trends in weather-related hazards frequencies and severities (Mileti 1999: 304). The wide and severe economic and societal impacts associated with blizzards demonstrate the value of studying the societal impacts by examining the spatial and temporal patterns of blizzards along with the societal impacts. This included the population in affected counties, fatalities, injuries, economic damage, and the number of federally declared disaster areas.
KeywordsTransportation Cyclone Haas
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