Monday, January 28, 2008

The winds are blowing...


Geez, I think we are having a bonified blizzard today. The weather folks have been talking about this storm for about 3 days, billing it as a Monday morning commuter special. As of Sunday night the snow was supposed to hit at 8am, at 2 am the Winter Storm Warnings banner was running across the bottom of the TV, this morning they were saying 9am, but 9am came and left with out incident.
It was very windy, as evidenced by all the overturned trash cans in my neighboorhood, but the wind blew the inversion away and it was sunny, so it was actually pretty out for the first time in a while. (The air pollution here is lousy, especially in the the winter.) I was guessing this is was just another "overhyped because there's nothing else newsworthy worth talking about" storm. Then at 10:30 one of the guys in the lab tells me to look out the window. (It's funny how you can get so engrossed in your work that you don't even look out the window) Wind whipped snow was swirling everywhere, the tree weres swaying, and the sidewalks already coated with snow.

Even though people tend to use the term loosely, not every snowstorm is actually a blizzard. I think of a blizzard as a windy snowstorm, but until today I never sought an actual definition. According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center a blizzard is a:

Violent winter storm, lasting at least 3 hours, which combines below freezing temperatures and very strong wind laden with blowing snow that reduces visibility to less than 1 km.

Weather.com says the wind needs to be 35 mph and visibility less than 1/4 mile.

Interesting; I never knew a storm had to have a minimal duration to be a blizzard.

We have plenty of big snowstorms here, but they rarely use the word blizzard. I guess now I know why.

I 'm pretty sure that today we have the winds, visibility is sure poor, and I guess we will have to see if lasts for three hours or not. We're up to 2 so far, and it looks like chances are good that it will snow for another hour. Now I'm going to have to pay attention to the news to see if indeed this is an actual blizzard! (Yeah, yeah, I know.... nerd alert!)

1 comment:

ellen said...

I'm not sure if what we're getting right now is considered a blizzard or not but it sure feels like the stuff we used to get when I was a kid. I live right here in town and even I don't feel like getting in the car to go to a meeting that is only a few blocks away.
Although we're supposed to see the sun this afternoon.