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Apr 10, 2013 9:18 AM by Stephen Bowers

What makes a blizzard?

We realize many people expected to wake up to piles of snow after blizzard warnings were launched across a huge section of Southern Colorado on Tuesday. With that in mind, we wanted to try to clear up some of the confusion...

Blizzard conditions were, in fact, observed in many areas with Tuesday's storm. The criteria for a blizzard is passed down from the National Weather Service and defines a blizzard is 35+ mph winds that blow snow to reduce visibility to less than a quarter-mile. The snow can be falling or can be picked up off the ground, but there is no snow accumulation minimum in the criteria for a blizzard.

A blizzard is more about the wind. The snow fell Tuesday and was blown by 50-65 mph winds and often reduced visibility to less than a quarter-mile. That is easily within the criteria set by the National Weather Service. The snow melted quickly and didn't pile up, but again, that is not part of the blizzard criteria established by the National Weather Service.

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