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

Synonyms

White-out

Definition

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...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Bibliography

  1. Changnon, S. A., Changnon, D., and Karl, T. R., 2006. Temporal and spatial characteristics of snowstorms in the contiguous United States. Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, 45, 1141–1155.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Kocin, P. J., Schumacher, P. N., Morales, R. F., Jr., and Uccellini, L. W., 1995. Overview of the 12–14 March 1993 Superstorm. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 76, 165–182.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Kocin, P. J., and Uccellini, L. W., 2004. A snowfall impact scale derived from northeast storm snowfall distributions. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 85, 177–194.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Krause, P. F., and Flood, K. L., 1997. Weather and Climate Extremes. Alexandria: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Topographic Engineering Center, Report TEC-0099.Google Scholar
  5. Laird, N., Sobash, R., and Hodas, N., 2009. The frequency and characteristics of lake-effect precipitation events associated with the New York State finger lakes. Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, 48, 873–886.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Mote, T. L., Gamble, D. G., Underwood, S. J., and Bentley, M. L., 1997. Synoptic-scale features common to heavy snowstorms in the Southeast United States. Weather and Forecasting, 12, 5–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Nicosia, D. J., and Grumm, R. H., 1999. Mesoscale band formation in three major northeastern United States snowstorms. Weather and Forecasting, 14, 346–368.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Schmidlin, T. W., 1993. Impacts of severe winter weather during December 1989 in the Lake Erie snowbelt. Journal of Climate, 6, 759–767.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Schwartz, R. M., and Schmidlin, T. W., 2002. A climatology of blizzards in the conterminous United States, 1959–2000. Journal of Climate, 15, 1765–1772.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Wild, R., 1997. Historical review on the origin and definition of the word blizzard. Journal of Meteorology, 22, 331–340.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeographyKent State UniversityKentUSA