What is a blizzard and what to do during a blizzard?

What is a blizzard?

A blizzard is a severe snowstorm with strong winds and whiteout conditions. However, there are certain requirements for a blizzard to be called a blizzard. First, snow accumulation is not counted to determine if there will be a blizzard. By all means, snow accumulation is important but not to determine a blizzard.

So, when determining if a snowstorm has reached blizzard criteria, three things are looked at. First, will the winds be sustained at least 35 mph? Second, will visibility be less than 1/4 of a mile? Third, will all of that happen for at least 3 hours? If yes, then you have a blizzard. If even one of those criteria isn’t met then you don’t have a blizzard.

What to do during a blizzard?

Before a blizzard hits, stay update to date on the forecast, winter weather can change a lot. Now, if in your home, stock up on food and water so you can be prepared in the event you can’t leave your home. Have flashlights, candles, or a generator in case you lose power. Always follow proper protocol when using a generator. Here is one, do not under any circumstances start a generator inside your home, garage, and any other enclosed space for that. You could put your self and others at risk for carbon monoxide poising.

If traveling, make sure you have a good idea of the weather before you leave. If while traveling you get trapped in your car during a blizzard, here are some things to keep in your car to stay safe. Really throughout the winter these things could help you, not just in a blizzard.

  • Have kitty litter, sand, or salt available, this helps add traction to your car when stuck in the snow.
  • Have a wool blanket to keep your self warm in the freezing temperatures.
  • Have extra gloves, boots, scarfs, and even some extra clothes in your vehicle.
  • Have some food like granola bars, chocolate, beef jerky, nuts, canned fruit and etc. to keep your body energized. Be sure to have a snack available if you are diabetic.
  • Have a cooler to pack food and water in.
  • Have a knife or can opener available.
  • Keep a case of water in your vehicle to stay hydrated.
  • Have a flashlight, make sure to have plenty of extra batteries.
  • Battery Powered or Wind-Up Radio
  • A Shovel, never know when it might become handy.
  • First Aid Kit
  • Medicine
  • If a baby is with you, have things the baby needs available.
  • Jumper cables, in the event your car dies
  • Phone Charger or Phone Car Charger
  • Compass, if you are in the middle of nowhere and you have no cell service or your phone dies
  • A rope, in the event someone has to leave the vehicle, tie the rope to the car and the other side to the waist of the person leaving the vehicle. Just so they can find their way back to the vehicle.

It also recommended that you have enough of these items to last you at least three days.

Remember, if you are using your car to keep warm. Make sure your exhaust is clear of snow or anything that could block it. If you don’t clear your exhaust, you run the risk of getting CO poisoning.