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What sets a blizzard apart from your everyday garden variety snowstorm?

One major factor is wind, in excess of 35 mph.

Another is simply time enough for the snow to accumulate — strong gusts and snow that last for at least 3 hours will usually turn a winter storm into a cold weather 'event' worthy of special attention everytime.

Historic blizzards

Some of the most memorable blizzards in the U.S. have occurred on the East Coast, known as Nor'easters, which form when warm moist air moves north to clash with cold blasts from Eastern Canada.

Like the Blizzard of 1888, 1947, 1969, 1978, 1993 (a.k.a., "the storm of the century") and 1996, notable Nor'easters usually stall over the coast and last anywhere from 12 to 24 hours with snow amounts measured in feet rather than inches.

The result? Even residents in big cities quickly learn of nature's dangers when snarled traffic results in winter car emergencies, school closings, or when accompanying gusts take down electric and telephone lines.

Blizzard safety

Blizzard safety tips to follow (both before and after a blizzard) include stocking up on extra food and supplies, and having a cell phone and emergency numbers readily available.

During the storm, stay indoors and off the road whenever possible. It's also wise to keep a blizzard emergency kit stored in the trunk of your car in the event of getting stuck on a highway during a major storm.

also see -> Winter Health & Safety Tips for Older Adults

Dressing Warm for the Winter


More about blizzards around the Web:

Around the Web, get a complete picture on the wonder and awesome power of blizzards, along with expert tips on snow safety and what you can do to prepare, along with related blizzard fun facts, photos & folklore ...

Snow and Weather - Check out a good overview of what makes a blizzard, with focus on the 1996 storms that swept the US, plus related photos and timeline of historic storms, and related resources from the National Snow and Ice Data Center.

Blizzards - Everything you ever wanted to know about blizzards, including an illustrated safety guide to surviving outdoors even in the fiercest blizzard, with related facts and safety preparedness tips for home or on the road.

The Digital Snow Museum - Take the virtual tour of memorable blizzards, snow & ice storms with facts & photos dating back to the 18th century.

Snowflakes and Snow Crystals - Just for fun, here's a fascinating look at the physics of snow with photos and facts on their formation, plus tips on photographing snow, kids activities, suggested reading.


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