Encyclopedia of Natural Hazards

2013 Edition
| Editors: Peter T. Bobrowsky

Snowstorm and Blizzard

  • Thomas W. SchmidlinEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-4399-4_324




Snowstorm. An atmospheric disturbance that produces snowfall of sufficient intensity or depth to cause disruption to society. An accumulation of 15 cm of snow in 24 h is generally sufficient to be considered a snowstorm, although lesser thresholds may apply early and late in the snow season or in locations where snowfall is rare.

Blizzard. An extreme snowstorm with strong winds and blowing or drifting snow that obscure visibility, obstruct travel, and create a hazardous environment to people and animals. The definition of a blizzard varies. In the USA, the National Weather Service defines a blizzard as winds over 35 miles h−1, falling or blowing snow reducing visibility to ¼ mile or less, for a duration of at least 3 h. A blizzard in Canada is defined as wind speed over 40 km h−1, a wind chill greater than 1,600 W m−2, and visibility less than 1 km in snow, lasting for at least 4 h. The U.K. Met Office defines a blizzard as wind speed over 56 km h−1...

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeographyKent State UniversityKentUSA