So you want to learn some fun facts about blizzards? Then you have come to the right place! In this article I share with you 15 things about blizzards that you never knew… ready to learn more? Read on!
Must Known Fun Facts About Blizzards
Did you know that blizzards can occur even without snowfall? That’s not it. There are plenty more fun facts about blizzards that will leave you thirsty for more.
This article will explore these intense snowstorms. From their German roots to their surprising strength, blizzards have some thrilling secrets to share. Moreover, we’ll also uncover some fascinating details that will leave you snow-struck.
So, bundle up and join us on this frosty adventure.
Back in 1870, an Iowa newspaper used the word “blizzard” to describe a fierce snowstorm that hit on March 14. That marked the first-ever recorded mention of “blizzard” in a weather context.
Some language experts suggest that “blizzard” might have German roots, possibly evolving from the German word “Blitz,” which means lightning. This connection highlights the sudden and intense nature of these snowy storms.
Another idea is that “blizzard” could be a blend of “blast” and “blizzard,” emphasising the powerful gusts of wind accompanying these snowstorms. Whether it’s linked to lightning or wind blasts, one thing’s certain – they have fascinating origins that are worth the top position on the list of fun facts about blizzards.
Blizzards can surprise us by happening right under our noses without a single snowflake falling from the sky. How does it work? Well, a strong winter wind sweeps across the ground, lifting loose snow and creating a wild snowstorm right at your feet. The result?
A blinding whiteout engulfs everything around you, even though the snow isn’t falling from above. The strong winds can create near-zero visibility and make it challenging to see anything. Ground blizzards are especially common in areas with little snow cover but plenty of loose, powdery snow.
If you don’t live in a stormy area, you might not know how houses differ in many ways from our ordinary homes. But you will now find this out in these fun facts about blizzards. First off, in blizzard-prone areas, houses need steep roofs to let the snow slide right off and prevent heavy build-up.
Regular houses might not need to worry about that much snowfall. So their roof designs may focus more on style. Blizzard-proof homes get extra layers of insulation to keep the cold out and the warmth in. Strong winds try to sneak in through gaps, so tight sealing is a must in these homes.
When blizzard blackouts hit, you need to be ready. Generators, wood stoves, and cozy blankets will keep you snug and comfy during heavy storms. But that’s not all. Some people have storm shelters, snowmelt systems, and windbreaks in their homes to keep them safe.
4. Blizzards Make You Feel Much Colder Than The Actual Temperature
Ever wondered why a blizzard makes you shiver like crazy? It’s all because of the wind chill factor – another amazing fact in our fun facts about blizzards list. When the wind starts whirling, it makes things feel way colder than they actually are. It is a way to know how cold it feels when the wind blows.
Take the temperature reading; let’s say it’s 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Now, add the wind speed, like 20 miles per hour, and the wind chill factor makes its way down to a freezing -14 degrees Fahrenheit. Brrr, that’s frosty!
It can be a real danger, especially during a blizzard. When it’s super cold and windy outside, you could get frostbite or hypothermia. Frostbite freezes your skin and tissues, and hypothermia drops your body temperature way too low.
Both are serious conditions and can even be life-threatening. Even though we added this in fun facts about blizzards but when a blizzard blows your way, be prepared. Dress up warm, stay inside your home, and protect yourself from the wind with a hat, scarf, and gloves.
Next up in our list of fun facts about blizzards is the wild blizzard that hit Buffalo, New York, in 1977. The National Weather Service gave a warning, but people didn’t expect the storm to be this fierce. Suddenly, a thick cloud of white covered the city, and winds roared at seventy-five miles per hour, blowing snow and ice from Lake Erie.
It was so frigid; the windchill felt like sixty degrees below zero. The streets got buried in drifts, making it tough to move around. People had to find warmth in offices, stores, or anywhere they could escape the chill. The blizzard kept raging for days, causing chaos. President Jimmy Carter had to step in and help out.
6. 1972 Iran Blizzard – A Record-Breaking Snowstorm
Here’s more to add to these fun facts about blizzards. Back in February 1972, Iran was hit by a crazy blizzard that went down in history as the deadliest ever. We usually don’t think of Iran as a snowy place, but it has its share of mountains and valleys where snow can pile up.
This blizzard lasted for a whole week, from February 3rd to 9th, and it was like nothing they had seen before. The storm brought heavy snow and freezing temperatures, covering almost 10 feet of snow in many rural areas.
Some parts in the south got buried under 26 feet of snow – that’s taller than two-and-a-half-story buildings. With no electricity to keep warm, no food, no medicine, and no way to escape homes buried in snow, the situation turned disastrous.
More than 4,000 people lost their lives, and in some villages, there were no survivors. Rescue workers did their best to bring aid, but another blizzard hit on February 11th, making their efforts even tougher. It’s a shaking one in our list of fun facts about blizzards as well as in the history of snowstorms.
Blizzard of 1888 is also known as “The Great White Monster.” This epic storm was like nothing people had seen before and left a mark on the East Coast that lasted for days. It brought powerful winds of more than 35 miles an hour and snow so thick you couldn’t see more than 500 feet ahead.
It hit cities like New York, Boston, Philadelphia, and Washington, leaving them completely paralyzed. The storm caused chaos everywhere – telegraph and telephone wires snapped, ships were grounded, and hundreds of seamen lost their lives.
Even fire stations were immobilized, which led to an estimated $25 million in property loss from fires alone. Tragically, more than 400 people lost their lives in this ferocious blizzard. The storm arrived after some unusually warm days, fooling people with mild temperatures before it struck.
On March 12th, the rain turned into heavy snow, temperatures plummeted, and strong winds howled for a whole 36 hours. Some places in Connecticut and Massachusetts got buried under a whopping fifty inches of snow, while New York and New Jersey had forty inches covering them.
The Blizzard of 1888 was so intense that it forced people to find better ways to get around in such extreme weather. This led to the creation of the New York Subway, which started in 1900 after being approved in 1894 – the main reason to add this to the list of fun facts about blizzards.
Nor’easters are a special kind of blizzard that love to hit the US Northeast. They are low-pressure storms that ride along the country’s eastern coast and usually show up from September to April, bringing snow and strong winds to the region. But don’t be surprised if they pop up any time of the year.
The perfect ingredients for a nor’easter come together near the East Coast. Cold air from Canada meets warm, moist air from the Gulf Stream, creating a stormy showdown.
These storms are famous for causing mayhem. They move northeast up the coast, getting stronger as they go. Cities like Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C., often feel their impact. Nor’easters can bring heavy snow, fierce winds, coastal flooding, and blizzards.
Some of the most famous blizzards in history have been nor’easters. The Blizzard of 1888 (included in our fun facts about blizzards list), the Ash Wednesday Storm of 1962, the Blizzard of 1978, and the Storm of the Century in 1993 are just a few memorable examples of their power.
9. Blizzards Can Be Started by Lakes
Guess what? Blizzards can start because of lakes! It’s called “lake-effect snow,” which happens when certain conditions are just right. When icy winds blow across a warmer lake, they grab moisture and turn it into snow. If the air stays cold enough, that snow falls on the nearby land, creating a lake-effect blizzard.
For lake-effect to happen, the air temperature in the sky must be much colder than the lake’s surface. When everything comes together just right, you might even see thundersnow – snow with lightning and thunder.
Snowmageddon, a blend of “snow” and “Armageddon,” was a massive blizzard that caused chaos in cities. It first struck in January 2009 and returned with force in February 2010.
This gained Snowmageddon the reputation as one of the mightiest snowstorms in recent times. The media loved the name as much as we did and included it in fun facts about blizzards. They used it to describe how television news exaggerated the snowfall’s impact across the UK.
This blizzard was just one of four major storms during the 2009-2010 winter that NOAA rated as intense. Alongside its fellow storms, it transformed that winter into the snowiest on record for many parts of the Mid-Atlantic region.
You might think you can’t be in the air during blizzards, but let me break the ice for you. And it’s another addition to our fun facts about blizzards list. You can fly while these snowy storms are in their full thrill.
However, there are certain conditions that must be met for planes to take off, fly, and land safely during blizzards. The two main factors are visibility and the condition of the runway. If visibility is too low, it’s too risky for the pilot to take off or land.
The runway must also be clear of snow and ice, as a slippery surface can be dangerous for takeoff and landing. Moreover, wind speed and turbulence also play a role, as strong winds or severe turbulence can make flying unsafe.
Blizzards may seem like winter’s worst, but there’s something even more treacherous when they team up with freezing rain. And here’s one more amazing fact for you in the fun facts about blizzards list. This combo storm, known as a blizzard with freezing rain, brings a deadly mix of heavy snow, strong winds, and freezing rain.
The freezing rain coats everything with a layer of ice and turns roads and sidewalks into slippery danger zones. Power lines can also be weighed down and snap, causing widespread outages.
Central Canada is famous for its vast Canadian Prairies, flat land where strong winds and heavy snow team up to create these intense winter storms. While blizzards can happen in various parts of Canada, they love to appear in the Prairies and the Arctic.
In Canada, they have a handy rule to identify blizzards: the 4-4-4 rule. This means winds must blow at least 40 kph (25 miles per hour), visibility should be reduced to 400 meters (0.25 miles) or less, and there should be sustained snowfall for 4 hours. Central Canada checks all these boxes, making it highly susceptible to blizzards.
14. Blizzards Can Benefit Farmers
Bet you won’t think of this in the fun facts about blizzards list. Blizzards can actually bring some good news for farmers, especially in central Russia. Back in 2018, Moscow experienced a snowstorm that left a massive layer of snow. That reaches up to 55 cm (22 inches) deep in certain city areas. But this snowy blanket was not all bad news.
The snowfall benefited the crops in areas like central Russia, with vast wheat fields. The snow acts as a natural irrigation system, providing much-needed moisture to the soil. This moisture supports the wheat crops, reinforcing the outlook for another big harvest.
Last but not least fun facts about blizzards are that these snowstorms can be as strong as Category 1 and 2 hurricanes. With heavy snow and fierce winds, blizzards can wreak havoc just like hurricanes do.
Blizzards and hurricanes need certain conditions to happen. The former like cold air and strong winds over land, while hurricanes prefer warm, moist air and ocean water. However, Blizzards can have winds as strong as hurricanes of 74 to 110 mph, causing lots of damage and danger.
Wrapping Up– Fun Facts About Blizzards
So far, you’ve discovered 15 fun facts about blizzards. These winter wonders can be as strong as hurricane winds, leaving a snowy trail in their wake. Despite their harsh nature, blizzards also offer benefits, like boosting crops and impacting house designs in snow-prone areas. So, remember to stay safe indoors next time you encounter a blizzard.
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