The Powerful, Destructive Blizzard!

The high wind speeds and low temperatures cause snow to drift around at high speeds, and that creates low visibility levels.

-  Wind speeds of at least 35 miles per hour

-  Visibility of, at most, 1/4 of a mile

-  Temperatures below 32 degrees F

- Snow is required, whether on the ground, or coming down as current precipitation

- Has to last for at least 3 hours

- Most common cloud type during blizzards is nimbostratus clouds (layered clouds that produce precipitation)

The Formation

To cause a blizzard to form, the warm air has to rise over cold air to form precipitation. Warm air rises because it is less dense.  Because a temperatures are below 32 degrees F, and that is when precipitation freezes, the precipitation will come down as snow.  The high wind speeds blow around snow, and cause low visibility levels, of 1/4 of a mile.  Some people might say that a blizzard is a "white-out"!

This blizzard displays the snow drifting around, and the low visibility levels that come along with it .

Exactly How Destructive Was That Blizzard?

"2008 Chinese New Year Blizzard"                       "Blizzard Of 1888"

Where: Southern China                                         Where: Chesapeake Bay to Main

Deaths: 100 deaths                                               Deaths: 400 deaths

Injuries: (nothing recorded)                                   Injuries:  (none recorded)

Stranded: 2 million, 1 in 8 people                         Stranded: 15,000 people

Total Restoration Cost: 4 billion US D                  Total Restoration Cost: 1 million US D

Duration: 2 weeks                                                 Duration: 1.5 days

Major Aftermath: coal shortages,                          Major Aftermath: food shortages

food/resource inflation   

Your Safety Instructions

Meteorologists have developed many ways to help predict when severe snow storms are coming.  A radiosonde balloon is an instrument that measures temperature, air pressure, humidity and wind speed, which helps predict when the conditions will be right for a blizzard to form.  Meteorologists use barometers to measure how dense the air is, or in other words, what the air pressure is.  The instrument known as a satellite tracks cloud patterns, and reports the information back to a data base on Earth.  All of these tools are used to track and predict when the conditions are optimum for a blizzard to occur.  As soon as a major storm has been reported, it will be announced on local radio stations, and television, either in watch or warning form.  A watch is given when conditions are ideal for severe weather, and a warning is given when severe weather has been spotted, or is expected within the next 24 hours.

There are things that you can do to stay safe during a blizzard.  First, pack a safety kit including a battery operated radio, batteries, flashlights, candles, rain jackets, tarps, blankets, water, canned food, and medicines.  Of course, the winter weather is chilly, so dress warmly with layered clothing.  If any skin is exposed, the skin might become frost-bitten, or in extreme cases, may lead to hypothermia.  Try to stay inside as much as possible, and eat and drink regularly, because it produces body heat.  Also, do not drive unless absolutely necessary, and when driving during a blizzard, be sure to be carrying a cell phone at all times, and have a full tank of gas in the vehicle.   


hypothermia- when the body shuts down because of extreme cold

humidity- how saturated the air is with water vapor

meteorologist- person who studies weather patterns

visibility levels- how far you can see in front of yourself outside

air pressure- how hard the air is pushing on the Earth

wind speeds- how fast the wind is moving (measured in miles per hour)


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"Great Blizzard of ’88 Hits East Coast." A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web. 17 Mar. 2015.

Infoplease. Infoplease, n.d. Web. 17 Mar. 2015. "Re: What Kind of Equipment Is Used to Track and Predict a Blizzard?"

Re: What Kind of Equipment Is Used to Track and Predict a Blizzard? N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Mar. 2015.

"Snow:." Blizzards. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Mar. 2015.

Stewart, Mark. Blizzards and Winter Storms. Pleasantville, NY: Gareth Stevens Pub., 2009. Print.

"Weather Wiz Kids Weather Information for Kids." Weather Wiz Kids Weather Information for Kids. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Mar. 2015.

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