What is the difference between a blizzard and a snow storm?
Winter is still here and the cold weather brings with it a number of unfamiliar types of snow in parts of the US.
Spring is not that far off and the days are slowly dragging themselves longer the US is actually at its coldest. March is still deep winter and there is plenty of adverse weather around even after the lethal snow storms which strangled travel over the holiday season and recently in California.
Here are a selection of winter storm terms and what they mean in practice.
The NWS defines a blizzard as snowfall while there are also higher than 35 mph winds. Alongside this it has to last three hours or more. What makes the blizzard unique is the wind as a blizzard without high wind is not a blizzard at all.
A ground blizzard is when there is already snow on the ground, neutralising visibility.
A snow storm is a heavy fall of snow with strong winds. It’s more of a general term without a real scientific definition so any snowfall can be counted as a snowstorm as the precipitation is falling as snow and not rain.
A bomb cyclone is a term that has been used to describe a quickly intensifying storm. This has been due to air pressure falling which leads to thunderstorms and heavy rainfall.
So, it looks like we will be experiencing winter-like conditions for at least a few more weeks.