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What is the definition of a blizzard?

Most people think a blizzard is when lots of snow falls, let's say one to two feet. That is often the case, but not always.

Blizzards are actually defined by a combination of snow, wind, visibility, and duration. There are three main criteria for a blizzard: 

1) Snow or blowing snow

2) Winds in excess of 35 miles-per-hour

3) Visibility of 1/4 mile or less

If all three of those criteria are met for three or more consecutive hours, then it's officially a blizzard.

So the amount of snow doesn't determine a blizzard. In fact, a blizzard can be caused by an inch or two of snow significantly blowing around on the ground with strong winds and low visibility.

 


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High Low
Current 42°F 38°F
Average 41°F 23°F
Record 71°F February 23, 1985 2°F February 23, 1972