96 Facts About Snowstorms That Are Way Too Interesting | Kidadl


96 Facts About Snowstorms That Are Way Too Interesting

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Read these Tokyo facts to learn all about the Japanese capital.

Snowstorms are also called winter storms, wind storms, and snow squalls.

Based on the severity, the NESIS ranks snowstorms into five categories; extreme, crippling, major, significant, and notable.

Mountain blizzards are similar to orographic snowstorms but with too much snow and wind speed. While blizzards arise during winter, snowstorms occur during autumn, winter, and spring. In the Arctic and Antarctic circles, you can find blizzards with a wind speed of more than 90 mph (145 kph). Keep scrolling to read interesting facts!

What causes snowstorms?

Traveling during severe snowstorms is dangerous due to the low visibility and whiteout. Below are a few interesting facts about the cause of snowstorms.

  • Snowstorms are a mix of snow, rain, ice pellets, and soft hail.
  • Snow forms when tiny crystals stick together to become snowflakes.
  • When it happens repeatedly, they become heavy and fall to the ground in the form of snow.
  • When the intensity is higher with blowing winds, they are called snowstorms.
  • The magnitude of a snowstorm depends on how quickly warm air rises moisture in the air and the winds.
  • Snowstorms are an interesting natural phenomenon that occurs when precipitation falls as snow.
  • Snowstorms occur in high and mid-latitudes. They also occur in Antarctica.
  • They are very common in North America, Canada, Europe, Russia, and North Asia.
  • Not surprisingly, they occur in the winter season, from December to February.
  • There are four types of snowstorms: wintry mix, freezing rain, lake effect, and orographic snowstorms.
  • The wintry mix consists of rain and sleet or ice pellets.
  • When raindrops freeze on impact with the ground or any object on the ground and solidify, it's called freezing rain.
  • Lake effect snowstorm occurs when cold air passes over warm lake water for long distances before it forms precipitation and snow.
  • When air is forced to move up as it flows over mountains and causes snow accumulation, it's called an orographic snowstorm.
  • To qualify as a snowstorm, there should be an average snowfall of up to 2 in (5.08 cm) and sustained winds of less than 35 mph (56 kph).
  • If the snowfall is more than 2 in (5.08 cm) and is accompanied by strong winds with a speed of 35 mph (56 kph), it's called a blizzard.
  • Blizzards have lower visibility of only a quarter of a mile than snowstorms.
  • Blizzards occur in extremely cold temperatures in North America, Canada, and Russia.
  • There are three types of blizzards: frontal blizzard, ground blizzard, and mountain blizzard.
  • Frontal blizzards are formed when two air masses collide and create precipitation and snow.
  • Frontal blizzards happen around the upper midwest of the USA and the mid-Atlantic coast.
  • Blizzards can happen even when there is no snowfall.
  • When heavy winds blow snow on the ground either horizontally or upwards, they are called ground blizzards.
  • There are three types of ground blizzards based on the direction of winds: horizontal advection, thermal-mechanical advection, and vertical advection based on the direction of the winds.

What are the consequences of a snowstorm?

The duration of a snowstorm may be small, but the repercussions are felt for a long time. Listed below are facts on the ramifications of snowstorms.

  • Snowstorms and blizzards have the potential to paralyze a community.
  • Apart from its effect on health, a winter storm can also impact infrastructure and economic development.
  • Snowstorms directly affect the health and safety of plants, wildlife, livestock, people, and communities.
  • Cold temperature due to snow can cause frostbite, hypothermia, and in some cases, death.
  • A severe snow blizzard has a higher death toll than a snowstorm.
  • Snowstorms make traveling either by road or air difficult.
  • Roads can be partially or fully shut off due to snow piling.
  • Houses in remote locations that are isolated due to snowstorms or a severe blizzard may face food shortages.
  • Sometimes pipes may freeze and burst in buildings due to poor insulation.
  • If grazing areas are covered by ice due to a blizzard, then the livestock or animals dependent on them will migrate or look for other alternatives causing an imbalance in their natural habitats.
  • Ice buildup on the nostrils of animals may cause suffocation, and birds may be unable to fly due to the ice formation on their wings.
  • If plants and animals perish during blizzards, then other animals depending on them may also move away or perish.
  • All the snow from these storms results in spring flooding, cornices, and avalanches.
  • Heavy snowfall leads to the accumulation of snow on rooftops causing them to collapse due to the weight leading to both human and asset loss.
  • Severe blizzards are known to uproot trees and electric poles, leading to power outages for days.
  • Excess snowfall can ruin crops, thus affecting food production.
  • Many times, emergency services become inaccessible because of road blockage due to snow.
  • Snowstorms affect the movement of traffic, which in turn disrupts the supply of goods and services.
  • Tourist places that thrive on winter recreation have to be shut down temporarily during a snow storm.
  • The travel and tourism industry is affected, causing unemployment.
  • It has been observed that accidents caused during snowstorms lead to subsequent pile-ups causing loss of life and limb.
  • Snowstorms cause floods, and dampness in the soil leads to the growth of fungi which damage plants and trees.
  • The cost of removing snow and repairing the damages can create a huge financial burden to the city administration.
  • The total estimated loss and resulting insurance claims cost the US alone is an average of two billion USD.
  • Snowstorms have a direct and indirect financial cost to the economy.

How To Deal With A Snowstorm

While they may last anywhere from three hours to a day or two, there are ways in which to stay safe even if you are caught in a snowstorm. The below facts will help you deal with snowstorms.

  • Staying indoors is the best thing to do during most snowstorms and blizzards.
  • Move your pets and other animals to a safe, enclosed shelter.
  • Fill your gas tank.
  • Pile up adequate food supplies and water.
  • Have sufficient quantities of firewood.
  • Add more insulation to your doors and windows.
  • Charge your cell phone and backup battery too.
  • Keep medicines and a first aid kit handy.
  • Our body loses a lot of heat through our head, so it is important to cover our heads and the rest of the body as much as we can with suitable woolen or thermal clothes.
  • It is advisable to stay hydrated.
  • Avoid alcohol to stay warm.
  • Close or seal all rooms that are not needed to preserve heat.
  • Keep a shovel where you can easily access it if you have to move out by pushing the most snow.
  • If you are outside, find shelter immediately.
  • Keep yourself fully covered and dry from the snow and cold air.
  • If you are outside without shelter, try the lean-to, windbreak, or snow cave options.
  • Melt the snow rather than eat it to stay hydrated.
  • Ignite fire and place rocks around it to retain and reflect the heat.
  • Remain inside if you are stuck in a vehicle. Keep running the engine for a few minutes after every hour.
  • Inform your friends about your travel plans and possible arrival time.
  • Conserve your mobile phone battery.
  • Keep doing simple exercises in the vehicle to keep your body warm and active.
  • Always carry jumper cables and tow rope in case your vehicle breaks down.
  • Keep road flares or tie colored cloth to your vehicle's door or antenna to signal your location.
Woman with red umbrella

Fun Facts About Snowstorms

Did you know that the word 'blizzard' was coined by a newspaper in Iowa in the 1870s? Check below for some more interesting snowstorms and blizzard facts.

  • A mix of cold air and warm air is the recipe for a snowstorm.
  • A blizzard commonly happens when the temperature is less than 20 F (-6.66 C).
  • Blizzards are not random occurrences but form due to special weather conditions.
  • Most snowstorms occur during winter when wind pulls warm air from the equator towards the North Pole and forms rain and snow clouds.
  • Snowstorm watch alerts people about a possible storm event, while a storm warning indicates heavy snowfall, wind, and cold temperature.
  • For a winter storm to be called a blizzard, the wind speed should be at least 35 mph (56.32 kph), reduce the visibility by just a quarter of a mile, and should last for a minimum of three hours.
  • Northeast snowstorms are different from northwest snowstorms due to their anti-clockwise rotation on the east coast.
  • NESIS (Northeast Snowfall Impact Scale) was created by the American Meteorological Institute in 2006 to rank snowstorms and blizzards.
  • There are only two category five snowstorms to date: the 1993 and 1996 blizzards.
  • The first blizzard that happened in 1977 was declared a Federal emergency.
  • The Iran blizzard, which happened in February 1972, is considered the deadliest in history. The blizzard lasted for a week and caused the death of over 4000 people.
  • The blizzard of 1996 was considered very severe in the US. There were 27 blizzards during the winter season.
  • The area from central Canada to the mid-western US is often called 'Blizzard Country' due to its regular occurrence.
  • People in that area deliberately build houses with steep roofs to avoid snow pile-ups.
  • A blizzard in 1996 is considered to be the 'Storm of the Century', because of its massive size and the devastation it caused.
  • In 1998, the Great Ice Storm was a massive combination of five smaller ice storms spread from Eastern Ontario in Canada to Central Maine in the US.
  • A blizzard in Colorado caused a pile-up of over 100 cars injuring many people during March 2019.
  • In 1922, a snowstorm was called 'Knickerbocker Storm' because snow fell on the roof of the Knickerbocker theater. This theater collapsed, killing around 100 people.
  • The year 1988 is infamous for two massive snowstorms, The Schoolhouse Blizzard and the Great Blizzard of 1888.
  • The Saskatchewan blizzard of 1945 is considered the worst in Canadian history, with temperatures touching -76 F (-60 C).
  • The Saskatchewan blizzard of 1945 received so much snowfall that it buried a train.
  • The snowiest city in the US is Rochester, which receives 94 in (2.38 m) of snow on average.
  • Due to climate change, we observe that the number of snowstorms is reducing, but the intensity of each is increasing.
Written By
Sridevi Tolety

<p>With a Master's degree in clinical research from Manipal University and a PG Diploma in journalism from Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Sridevi has cultivated her passion for writing across various domains. She has authored a wide range of articles, blogs, travelogues, creative content, and short stories that have been published in leading magazines, newspapers, and websites. Sridevi is fluent in four languages and enjoys spending her spare time with loved ones. Her hobbies include reading, traveling, cooking, painting, and listening to music.</p>

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