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Blizzards


mike Meehan

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Posted
  • Location: Mostly Watford but 3 months of the year at Capestang 34310, France
  • Weather Preferences: Continental type climate with lots of sunshine with occasional storm
  • Location: Mostly Watford but 3 months of the year at Capestang 34310, France

    I have noticed a tendency in the press and I suspect some of the members of this forum to describe heavy snow as a blizzard.

    In my experience a proper blizzard is quite rare in this country and I have not seen anything this season I would describe as a blizzard.

    To my mind, please correct me if I am not right, a blizzard consists of 2 factors, one is heavy snow, usually the dry variety and the other is a high wind which blows the snow to such an extent that the blowing and falling snow seriously restricts visibility and forms extensive snow drifts and can take on appearance of a thick fog which varies somewhat with the gusts.

    Other than that we can have heavy snow, without too much wind - it does seriously affect visibilty but does not form any substantial drifts, when I believe it should just be referred to as heavy snow.

    We also have the situation sometimes, though rare, where the snow has ceased but theré is still a strong wind drifting the snow and onstructing visibilty. In this case I believe that this should be referred to as blowing snow.

    If we are reporting these different phenomena to each other, I believe it is important we report these as accurately as we can, otherwise it leads to others not getting a proper appreciation of what is being reported.

    As for the press they are a law unto themselves and we all have to take what they say with a pinch of salt.

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    Posted
  • Location: Sholver - Oldham East - 297m ASL
  • Weather Preferences: Snowageddon and the new ice age. Then, possibly, A jolly good bbq heatwave!
  • Location: Sholver - Oldham East - 297m ASL

    Was most definately blizzard conditions up here last monday , high winds , driving snow and obviuosly the other problem was snow that was setting being blow up in wind too leading to decent drifting. Classic baleclava and goggle weather to be honest.

    Can't beleive its coming up to 7 days since our last decent snowfall in the NW. Seems like an age ago even though we still have a decent amount of laying snow and drifts.

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    Posted
  • Location: Lancashire, North West England
  • Location: Lancashire, North West England

    In countries that recieve major, seriois snowfall such as USA, Canada, Russia, Northern Europe/Scandinavia the definition of a blizzard generally is:

    (1) Wind speed of 25-35mph+

    (2) Heavy snowfall

    (3) Visibility less than 1km

    (4) Windchill of -25 deg.C

    (5) Duration of 4 hours+

    However the met-office UK has a much lower threshold:

    (1) Moderate-heavy snow

    (2) Wind speed of 30mph+

    (3) Visibilty less than 650 feet

    So there is no real 'definition' of a blizzard, these are determined by national weather centres and depend on regularity/severity of the snowfall events they recieve.

    I am also quite sure that some areas across the UK would have recieved UK met-office defined blizzards.

    Hot*Snow

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    Posted
  • Location: just south of Doncaster, Sth Yorks
  • Location: just south of Doncaster, Sth Yorks
    In countries that recieve major, seriois snowfall such as USA, Canada, Russia, Northern Europe/Scandinavia the definition of a blizzard generally is:

    (1) Wind speed of 25-35mph+

    (2) Heavy snowfall

    (3) Visibility less than 1km

    (4) Windchill of -25 deg.C

    (5) Duration of 4 hours+

    However the met-office UK has a much lower threshold:

    (1) Moderate-heavy snow

    (2) Wind speed of 30mph+

    (3) Visibilty less than 650 feet

    So there is no real 'definition' of a blizzard, these are determined by national weather centres and depend on regularity/severity of the snowfall events they recieve.

    I am also quite sure that some areas across the UK would have recieved UK met-office defined blizzards.

    Hot*Snow

    I think the visibility you quote for UK should be in metres or possibly yards.

    The definitive answer for what is a blizzard in the UK, using Met Office criteria can be found on their web site

    below is their quote

    BlizzardModerate or heavy snow accompanied by winds of 30 m.p.h. or more, with visibility reduced to 200 m or less; or drifting snow giving rise to similar conditions.

    • Major routes impassable
    • Local loss of power and telecommunication lines

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    Posted
  • Location: Powys Mid Wales borders.
  • Location: Powys Mid Wales borders.

    Definately been no blizzards here yet this winter winds have only been moderate to fresh at best.

    Drifting snow yes,which even happened yesterday very slightly.

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    Posted
  • Location: Derbyshire Peak District 290 mts. Wind speed 340 mts
  • Weather Preferences: Rain/snow, fog, gales and cold in every season
  • Location: Derbyshire Peak District 290 mts. Wind speed 340 mts
    Definately been no blizzards here yet this winter winds have only been moderate to fresh at best.

    Drifting snow yes,which even happened yesterday very slightly.

    I agree with that, in fact I posted a piece on this very topic in the learning area some time ago.

    Nothing even approaching a blizzard here this winter and the snowfalls further south earlier this week, though heavy, certainly weren't blizzards either.

    The media definition of a blizzard seems to be any amount of snow falling and settling on the ground.

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    Posted
  • Location: Broxbourne, Herts
  • Weather Preferences: Snow snow and snow
  • Location: Broxbourne, Herts
    As for the press they are a law unto themselves and we all have to take what they say with a pinch of salt.

    I would, but there seems to be a shortage at the moment! :rolleyes:

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    Posted
  • Location: Macclesfield
  • Location: Macclesfield

    We don't get many blizzards in England at least although they are not unknown and I have expreienced one or two events I ould describe as a blizzard (probably the only occasion when I really wished that snow would just go away until I had got home)

    It has been unusual this year to me to get heavy snow but with winds that have not been that strong. Some drifting yes but if it had been windier then a lot more roads would have been closed around here.

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    Posted
  • Location: Huddersfield, 145m ASL
  • Weather Preferences: Lots of snow, lots of hot sun
  • Location: Huddersfield, 145m ASL

    It must have been fairly close last Monday:

    HeavySnow_Feb2009.wmv

    Wind was 20-30 mph, snow was blowing pretty much horizontal, the trees and house are approximately 150 metres away.

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    Posted
  • Location: Derbyshire Peak District 290 mts. Wind speed 340 mts
  • Weather Preferences: Rain/snow, fog, gales and cold in every season
  • Location: Derbyshire Peak District 290 mts. Wind speed 340 mts

    Not quite a blizzard but, as you say, that was close, PTFD. Certainly you had more blowing snow than we did here, the wind was not as strong as that apart from above 450m or so.

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    Posted
  • Location: Home near Sellindge, 80m/250feet, 5miles from Coast
  • Weather Preferences: Severe Storms and Snow
  • Location: Home near Sellindge, 80m/250feet, 5miles from Coast

    I tend to say Blizzard like conditions , it's not a true blizzard but could give the impression of one :cray:

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    Posted
  • Location: Huddersfield, 145m ASL
  • Weather Preferences: Lots of snow, lots of hot sun
  • Location: Huddersfield, 145m ASL

    Yes, I think it was 'nearly', snowfall needed to be a little heavier, wind another 5-10 mph stronger. But I went for a quick walk in it, and not having a balaclava I can tell you it was bl**dy painful on my face !!! I absolutely agree though, the term is bandied about, especially by BBC weather presenters and the media, far too liberally. Never mind though, at least if they are using that language it shows the weather situation is probably the right side of marginal !

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    Posted
  • Location: Teesdale,Co Durham. 360m asl
  • Location: Teesdale,Co Durham. 360m asl

    Few video of Mondays events. They were occasions when vis got down to 20/30m at times in the heavier showers combined with blowing snow to around 30/40ft.

    The video's below were in better conditions

    Mark

    Teesdale,Co Durham

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    Posted
  • Location: just south of Doncaster, Sth Yorks
  • Location: just south of Doncaster, Sth Yorks
    It must have been fairly close last Monday:

    HeavySnow_Feb2009.wmv

    Wind was 20-30 mph, snow was blowing pretty much horizontal, the trees and house are approximately 150 metres away.

    that brings back memories of my childhood, 1947 and other winters and of course 1962-63, the joys of living at height in northern England.

    thanks for that

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    I think the visibility you quote for UK should be in metres or possibly yards.

    The definitive answer for what is a blizzard in the UK, using Met Office criteria can be found on their web site

    below is their quote

    BlizzardModerate or heavy snow accompanied by winds of 30 m.p.h. or more, with visibility reduced to 200 m or less; or drifting snow giving rise to similar conditions.

    • Major routes impassable
    • Local loss of power and telecommunication lines

    Sorry to be pedantic but as 200 metres is 656 feet so to say 650 feet or less would be fairly equivalent.

    Over high ground I would expect that blizzards are fairly common - I've experienced whiteout conditions whilst walking in the Lake District where it was almost impossible to route find without a compass.

    As for low ground, living in Cheshire I've been deprived of snow never mind blizzards! - but whilst living in Stoke on Trent I think December 8th 1990 there were blizzard conditions for a time, that was one hell of a snowstorm.

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