11 Facts About Blizzards

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  1. A blizzard is a severe snow storm with winds in excess of 35 mph and visibility of less than a 1/4 mile for more than 3 hours.^[National Weather Service. "Watch, Warning and Advisory Definitions." National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office. Accessed February 24, 2014, http://www.srh.noaa.gov/oun/?n=spotter-wwa-definitions.]
  2. Blizzards can also occur after snowfall when high winds cause whiteouts (fallen snow blowing around) and snowdrifts (huge mountains of snow), which decrease visibility.^["Safe Driving During Winter Storms and White Out Conditions." Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. Accessed February 24, 2014, http://www.dot.state.pa.us/penndot/districts/district10.nsf/dfc272879f6d9ac58525726f005d63a9/ff8e1ff4fa3cde548525783f006061de?OpenDocument.]
  3. To avoid hypothermia if caught outdoors during a blizzard, stay hydrated and nourished. Keep blood flowing by moving around. Also build a snow cave to block winds, which reduce your body temperature. And don't eat snow, it will make you colder! While keeping yourself safe, also think about the well-being of your animals by creating an emergency plan for your pets! Sign up for Save Our Pets.^[Oblack, Rachelle. "How to Survive a Blizzard." About.com Weather. Accessed February 24, 2014, http://weather.about.com/od/winterweather/a/winter_survival.htm.]
  4. If you must travel by car during a blizzard, it is vital to have an emergency aid kit (water, jumper cables, road flares, tow rope, non-perishable snacks) in case your car breaks down, you get into an accident, or become stuck in the snow.^[Hamm, Trent. "Fifteen Things to Have in Your Car This Winter." The Simple Dollar. Accessed February 24, 2014, http://www.thesimpledollar.com/fifteen-things-to-have-in-your-car-this-winter/.]
  5. The first blizzard to be declared a Federal Emergency was in 1977, affecting upstate New York and Southern Ohio. The storm’s accumulation was only about 12 inches over 5 days, but the winds were deadly.^[Warner, Gene. "As bad as the Blizzard of ’77? No way." Buffalo News. Accessed February 24, 2014, http://www.buffalonews.com/city-region/winter/as-bad-as-the-blizzard-of-77-no-way-20140107.]
  6. The Storm of the 20th Century took place in March, 1993. It was iconic for it’s hurricane wind force and massive size. And stretched from Canada to mid-America. The blizzard cause roughly 300 deaths and 10 million power outages.^[Ostro, Stu. "Memories of the Superstorm." Weather.com. Accessed February 24, 2014, http://www.weather.com/blog/weather/8_15036.html.]
  7. Traveling by car or foot is highly discouraged during blizzard conditions. It increases the chance of hypothermia, accident and death.^[Leach, Matt. "How do blizzards form?." MSN Weather. Accessed February 24, 2014, http://local.msn.com/how-do-blizzards-form.]
  8. Many blizzards stem from Nor’Easters, which are storms traveling up the east coast of America. Moisture gathers from the Atlantic and dumps large accumulations of snow all the way from Delaware to Maine.^[The Weather Channel. "Storm Encyclopedia." Weather.com. Accessed February 24, 2014, http://www.weather.com/encyclopedia/winter/noreast.html.]
  9. Rochester, New York is said to be the largest city with the most snow in the U.S., accumulating an average of 94 inches of snow every year.^[Leach, Matt. "How does snow form?." MSN Weather. Accessed February 24, 2014, http://local.msn.com/how-does-snow-form.]
  10. When a blizzard is in the forecast, you may receive a “Winter Storm Watch," which means there is a possibility of a storm taking effect. You could also receive a “Winter Storm Warning," which means a storm is on the way or already taking place.^[United States Department of Commerce. "Winter Weather." National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Accessed February 24, 2014, http://www.noaawatch.gov/themes/winter.php.]
  11. As soon as you receive a storm warning, get prepared. You could lose electricity (this includes hot water and heat), so stock up on non-perishable foods, blankets, flashlights, extra batteries, and candles beforehand.^[American Red Cross. "Winter Storm Preparedness." Accessed February 24, 2014, http://www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster/winter-storm.]

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