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Let's first define that a winter storm is a combination of heavy snow, blowing snow and/or dangerous wind chills. A winter storm is life-threatening. 

Blizzards are dangerous winter storms that are a combination of blowing snow and wind resulting in very low visibilities. While heavy snowfalls and severe cold often accompany blizzards, they are not required. Sometimes strong winds pick up snow that has already fallen, creating a ground blizzard. An ice storm is a storm which results in the accumulation of at least .25” of ice on exposed surfaces. They create hazardous driving and walking conditions. Tree branches and power lines can easily snap under the weight of the ice.

Lake effect storms are not low-pressure system storms. As a cold, dry air mass moves over the Great Lakes regions, the air picks up lots of moisture from the Great Lakes. This air, now full of water, dumps the water as snow in areas generally to the south and east of the lakes. Snow squalls are brief, intense snow showers accompanied by strong, gusty winds. Accumulation may be significant. Snow squalls are best known in the Great Lakes region.

Why can winter storms be so dangerous?

Most deaths from winter storms are not directly related to the storm itself.

  • People die in traffic accidents on icy roads.

  • People die of heart attacks while shoveling snow.

  • People die of hypothermia from prolonged exposure to cold temperatures.


Whole Earth Tools has accumulated vital information, products, and services for your home and property needed to survive brutal winter storms beginning at this WEATHERIZE link. Stay warm out there.

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