Blizzard Warning

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A Blizzard Warning (SAME code: BZW) is an advisory issued by the National Weather Service of the United States which means sustained winds or frequent gusts of 35 mph / 15 m/s or greater with heavy snow is forecast for a period of 3 hours or more. A blizzard tends to reduce visibilities to 1/4 of a mile (400 m) or less. A Severe Blizzard Warning is a variation issued in some cases of winds above 45 mph / 20 m/s and temperatures below 10°F/-12°C. Most local weather offices will activate and broadcast the SAME alarm tone on relevant NOAA Weather Radio stations for both varieties of warning, and many offices will also request activation of the Emergency Alert System.

In Canada, the same type of product (Blizzard Warnings) are issued by Environment Canada. These are the main two types of Canadian blizzard warnings as of 2010:[1]

  • National Warning below tree line - when winds are 40 kilometres/hr or greater with widespread reductions in visibility to 400 metres (1/4 mile) or less from blowing snow or blowing snow with falling snow for at least 4 hours.[2]
  • Northern (Arctic) Warning above tree line - same as National Warning but must last for at least 6 hours.[3]

The same warnings are issued by Weatheradio Canada and re-issued by media outlets like The Weather Network.

Example of a blizzard warning (US)[edit]

037 
WWUS43 KLOT 312120
WSWLOT

URGENT - WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE CHICAGO IL
320 PM CST MON JAN 31 2011

...DANGEROUS MULTIFACETED AND POTENTIALLY LIFE THREATENING WINTER
STORM TUESDAY NIGHT INTO WEDNESDAY...

ILZ003>006-008-010>014-019>023-032-033-039-INZ001-002-010-011-019-
010530-
/O.UPG.KLOT.BZ.A.0001.110201T1800Z-110203T0000Z/
/O.NEW.KLOT.BZ.W.0001.110201T2100Z-110202T2100Z/
WINNEBAGO-BOONE-MCHENRY-LAKE IL-OGLE-LEE-DE KALB-KANE-DUPAGE-COOK-
LA SALLE-KENDALL-GRUNDY-WILL-KANKAKEE-LIVINGSTON-IROQUOIS-FORD-
LAKE IN-PORTER-NEWTON-JASPER-BENTON-
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF...ROCKFORD...BELVIDERE...WOODSTOCK...
WAUKEGAN...OREGON...DIXON...DEKALB...AURORA...WHEATON...CHICAGO...
OTTAWA...OSWEGO...MORRIS...JOLIET...KANKAKEE...PONTIAC...
WATSEKA...PAXTON...GARY...VALPARAISO...MOROCCO...RENSSELAER...
FOWLER
320 PM CST MON JAN 31 2011 /420 PM EST MON JAN 31 2011/

...BLIZZARD WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 3 PM CST /4 PM EST/ TUESDAY TO
3 PM CST /4 PM EST/ WEDNESDAY...

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN CHICAGO HAS ISSUED A BLIZZARD
WARNING...WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 3 PM CST /4 PM EST/ TUESDAY TO
3 PM CST /4 PM EST/ WEDNESDAY. THE BLIZZARD WARNING REPLACES THE
BLIZZARD WATCH.

* TIMING...SNOW WILL INCREASE IN INTENSITY AND BECOME HEAVY AT
  TIMES SOUTH OF INTERSTATE 80 TUESDAY AFTERNOON...GRADUALLY
  SPREADING NORTH INTO NORTHERN ILLINOIS BY TUESDAY EVENING.
  SNOW...WHICH WILL BE HEAVY AT TIMES...WILL CONTINUE TUESDAY
  NIGHT INTO WEDNESDAY MORNING. LAKE ENHANCED SNOW SHOWERS WILL
  CONTINUE NEAR LAKE MICHIGAN IN NORTHEAST ILLINOIS WEDNESDAY
  MORNING...SHIFTING INTO NORTHWEST INDIANA DURING THE AFTERNOON.
  NORTHEAST WINDS OF 25 TO 40 MPH WITH STRONGER GUSTS WILL RESULT
  IN BLIZZARD CONDITIONS DEVELOPING LATE TUESDAY AFTERNOON AND
  CONTINUING THROUGH THE OVERNIGHT HOURS.

* ACCUMULATIONS...SNOW ACCUMULATIONS IN EXCESS OF A FOOT ARE
  EXPECTED OVER MUCH OF THE AREA FROM TUESDAY AFTERNOON THROUGH
  WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON. LOCALIZED TOTALS IN EXCESS OF 18 INCHES
  REMAIN POSSIBLE...ESPECIALLY NEAR THE LAKE.

* HAZARDS...WHITE-OUT CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED AT TIMES TUESDAY
  NIGHT AS VERY HEAVY SNOW AND STRONG WINDS RESULT IN BLIZZARD
  CONDITIONS. SNOWFALL RATES OF AT LEAST 2 TO 3 INCHES PER HOUR
  ARE POSSIBLE...ESPECIALLY WHERE THUNDER SNOW MAY BE PRESENT.

* IMPACTS...CONDITIONS WILL RAPIDLY DETERIORATE FROM SOUTH TO
  NORTH ACROSS THE REGION TUESDAY AFTERNOON...WITH TRAVEL LIKELY
  BECOMING VIRTUALLY IMPOSSIBLE AT TIMES TUESDAY NIGHT AND INTO
  EARLY WEDNESDAY MORNING. SNOW IS EXPECTED TO FALL SO HEAVILY AT
  TIMES TUESDAY NIGHT THAT PLOWS MAY BE UNABLE TO KEEP UP WITH THE
  SNOW...WITH MANY SIDE STREETS AND UNTREATED ROADS BECOMING
  IMPASSABLE.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A BLIZZARD WARNING MEANS SEVERE WINTER WEATHER CONDITIONS ARE
EXPECTED OR OCCURRING. FALLING AND BLOWING SNOW WITH STRONG WINDS
AND POOR VISIBILITIES ARE LIKELY. THIS WILL LEAD TO WHITEOUT
CONDITIONS...MAKING TRAVEL EXTREMELY DANGEROUS. DO NOT TRAVEL. IF
YOU MUST TRAVEL...HAVE A WINTER SURVIVAL KIT WITH YOU. IF YOU GET
STRANDED...STAY WITH YOUR VEHICLE.

&&

$$

SHEA

Example of a blizzard warning (Canada)[edit]

FPCN16 CWNT 071600

Warnings
Hall Beach
12:41 PM EST Thursday 07 February 2013
Blizzard warning for 
Hall Beach continued

Blizzard conditions today.

This is a warning that blizzard conditions are imminent or occurring in these regions. Monitor weather conditions..
listen for updated statements.

A strong storm system located over Davis Strait that produced blizzard conditions at Clyde River is weakening. 
Blizzard conditions are still affecting Hall Beach but as winds decrease today blizzard conditions will begin to 
improve at Hall Beach later this afternoon.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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