A blizzard is a severe snowstorm characterized by strong winds and low temperatures. The difference between a blizzard and a snowstorm is the strength of the wind. To be a blizzard, a snow storm must have sustained winds or frequent gusts that are greater than or equal to 56 km/h (35 mph) with blowing or drifting snow which reduces visibility to 400 meters or a quarter mile or less and must last for a prolonged period of time — typically three hours or more. Snowfall amounts do not have to be significant. In Australia the definition requires that at least some snow has been raised from the ground.
A severe blizzard has winds over 72 km/h (45 mph), near zero visibility, and temperatures of −12 °C (10 °F) or lower. A ground blizzard has snowdrifts and blowing snow near the ground, but no falling snow.
Blizzards can bring near-whiteout conditions, and can paralyze regions for days at a time, particularly where snowfall is unusual or rare. The 1972 Iran blizzard, which caused approximately 4,000 deaths, was the deadliest in recorded history.
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Famous quotes containing the word blizzard:
“Again and again, I struggled though the storm. Once I faintedand it wasnt in the script. I was hauled to the studio on a sled, thawed out with hot tea, and then brought back to the blizzard, where the others were waiting. We filmed all day and all night, stopping only to eat standing near a bonfire. We never went inside.... The blizzard never slackened.”
—Lillian Gish (18961993)
“It is getting dark and time he drew to a house,
But the blizzard blinds him to any house ahead.
The storm gets down his neck in any icy souse
That sucks his breath like a wicked cat in bed.”
—Robert Frost (18741963)
“The greatest felony in the news business today is to be behind, or to miss a big story. So speed and quantity substitute for thoroughness and quality, for accuracy and context. The pressure to compete, the fear somebody else will make the splash first, creates a frenzied environment in which a blizzard of information is presented and serious questions may not be raised.”
—Carl Bernstein (b. 1944)