Snow storm or blizzard? What's the difference

What a person considers a snowstorm can vary depending on your geographic location.

Light snow and wind in Atlanta could be a snowstorm due to their lack of snow, but more intense snow would likely be needed for someone in Minnesota or Cape Cod to use the term snowstorm.

A blizzard, however, does have a unique definition with weather condition thresholds that must all be met for at least three straight hours.

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In order to be a blizzard, a location must experience sustained or frequent wind gusts of 35 miles per hour or greater in addition to having considerable falling/and or blowing snow that reduces visibility below a quarter of a mile.

These are the conditions for what is called a blizzard.

These are the conditions for what is called a blizzard. (Fox News)

Blizzard conditions are extremely hazardous for traveling and these whiteout conditions often result in numerous vehicular accidents, even if falling snow has ended.

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This is often the case in the Plains and Midwest, where wind gusts to 50 mph often follow powerful winter storms, creating whiteout conditions for days.

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The National Weather Service will issue blizzard watches and warnings when blizzard conditions are anticipated in a given forecast region, sometimes 48 hours in advance.