Winter Storms, Blizzards and Nor’easters (Oh My!)
How do Winter Storms Form?
According to weatherquestions.com, winter storms form within a low-pressure front. When rising damp air combines with warm air moving over cold air, it creates rain or snow. When the air is mostly cold, snow will fall instead of rain. Strong winds can develop stronger storms and lead to blizzard conditions. Blizzards are a step up from a small winter storms for the high winds, low visibility, and how long they can last. A snow storm is considered a blizzard when the winds reach more than 35 mph, visibility is reduced to a quarter mile (or less), and when the storm lasts more than 3 hours. Blizzards do not have to be producing snow to be a blizzard. Blowing snow can contribute to low visibility.
Unfortunately the National Weather Service does not name winter storms because they tend to disappear and reform. However, the Weather Channel attempted a marketing ploy to name nor'easters. One particular storm they named "Winter Storm Quinn." Social media took it in stride, of course.
So What is a Nor’easter?
Nor’easter (Aka. Northeaster) is a very large winter storm. They develop in response to warm southern Gulf winds and cold air descending from Canada. They tend to form the most devastating storms between October and March.
Winter Safety: What Do I Need to Know?
Severe winter storms can cause all kinds of danger. Low visibility, frostbite, hypothermia, loss of electricity and risk of elderly and young children’s health contribute to the dangers of winter.