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What Damage do Blizzards Cause?

By Daniel Mirlea from Unsplash+

Natural events are in many forms and one such is blizzards. In this, cold winds from the poles tend to move toward the equator from both Northern Hemisphere and Southern Hemisphere and warm winds tend to move towards the poles from the equator. When the cold and warm winds get together, snow and blizzards form. The formation of blizzards occurs when the warm winds get up and form clouds and form blizzards from the mountainside. So, what damage do blizzards cause? Read the article to know about blizzards, their impact on human life, and other facts related to them.

1. What are 2 Impacts of Blizzards?

Blizzards bring strong winds that may cause people to suffer a lot of damage. The two impacts of blizzards are: 

  • Blizzards damage houses, and properties.
  • Blizzards can cause the power lines to collapse.

2. How are Blizzards Bad?

Although it is a natural phenomenon, it is also a natural calamity for human life. This is because blizzards bring dangerous cold weather events such as frigid temperatures, decreased visibility, and howling winds. Moreover, blizzards can be deadly. Due to this reason, meteorologists measure the weather conditions and warn people on time.

Blizzards cause low temperatures and wind speed greater than 56 kilometres per hour. And to respond to what damage do blizzards cause, you must know that this phenomenon causes accidents that happen due to low visibility and people walking on foot can even get lost. Along with this, blizzards damage houses, buildings, and much more. However, there are ways through which people survive blizzards. (See What does 3 inches of Snow Look like?)

3. What Damage do Blizzards Cause?

You already know that blizzards are bad but what damage do blizzards cause? Blizzards cause several damage to different aspects of human life. Here are 6 impacts of blizzards: 

  • Traffic: Blizzards get a lot of people when it hits, even the people who are driving. Due to blizzards, there is no or very low visibility on the road causing frequent accidents. This as well results in heavy traffic that lasts for hours as well as even days. People who are driving speedily can possibly end up crashing as it is tough to control a car with such speed over such unsuitable weather conditions. This causes deaths and severe injuries as well. And even, due to this traffic, it becomes difficult for medical emergencies to attend such places during a blizzard.
  • Human Health: If you spend time in a blizzard without any preparation, it can lead to hypothermia, frostbite and even freezing death. Your skin, if exposed to hypothermia, would lose sensitivity within a few minutes. In such circumstances, you might require medical emergencies which should be attended to as soon as possible. However, it is advisable to stay indoors in such circumstances.
  • Infrastructure: Blizzards bring about cold winds which break houses and several properties. These are also the cause of collapsing power lines. The after-effect as well lasts for several days.
  • Food and Water: Disruption of communication due to blizzards halts the supply of water, communication, electricity as well as food, making the life of humans troublesome for sustenance.
  • Environment: Blizzards cause damage to trees and plants over a large expanse which results in the increase of carbon dioxide disrupting the balance of the local ecosystem. Plants are as well food sources that are demolished due to blizzards.
  • Wildlife: It causes the destruction of the flora and fauna. Plants cater as food supplies to wildlife. With the impact of blizzards, the animals tend to move out of places, which results in the imbalance of wildlife.

4. What Impact do Blizzards have on Humans?

As we discuss what damage do blizzards cause to human life, there are several impacts of blizzards that demolish the daily life of people. Here are the impacts of blizzards on humans:

  • Blizzards are troublesome to the entire transportation system.
  • It damages several properties and disrupts the entire economy of that place.
  • It not only causes injuries but several deaths.
  • Blizzards cause the deposition of a huge amount of snow, thus making it hard for people to move. Roads blocked with snow make it almost impossible for transport.
  • As the blizzard demolished the transport system, people are unable to go to work which causes economic degradation in that local region.

5. Does Blizzard affect the Environment?

JAN23 What Damage do Blizzards Cause 1
By Daniel Mirlea from Unsplash+

Yes. So, what damage do blizzards cause to the environment? Blizzards affect the environment in many sectors such as agriculture, forest region, wildlife-flora and fauna, etc. Blizzards destroy the trees and plants over a large expanse. Moreover, it kills the crops with its extremely low temperatures. The after-effects of blizzards as well have a heavy impact as a large amount of snow deposited by blizzards causes floods in that region. (See How to Write Weather Report?)

6. Can Blizzards Damage Houses? Can Blizzards Destroy Buildings?

Yes, blizzards damage houses. Blizzards bring with them heavy winds with a speed of 56 kilometres per hour, which damage houses. Yes, blizzards can as well destroy buildings. Like thunderstorms and hurricanes, blizzards can also damage buildings, even metal buildings. Then, what damage do blizzards cause to your house? Blizzards cause the formation of ice dams on your roof which may cause leakage and several other destructions on your rooftop, which pose life-threatening risks. The melting of snow after the blizzard causes heavy floods that cover up basements and make it hard for people to live. 

7. Can Blizzards Make Tornadoes? Can Blizzards Cause Tornadoes?

No, blizzards cannot make tornadoes and do not even cause tornadoes. Tornadoes are violent columns of air that are rotating at a high speed. The circulation of a tornado reaches the grounds. On the contrary, blizzards are gusts of wind blowing over a long period of time, at a speed of 56 kilometres per hour and even more. These speedy winds involve snow and reduce visibility causing damage to the work life of the people. (See What’s an Isolated Tornado?)

8. How do People Survive Blizzards?

Even if blizzards are extremely dangerous for us humans, there are several preventive measures which you can take in order to survive blizzards. People survive blizzards by abiding by the following steps, which are: 

  • Heat Source: Always have a heat source, like a fireplace in your home. Bring enough wood to have heat and stay warm.
  • Supplies: Keep enough supplies such as food and water, as you might have to stay in your home for a long period of time.
  • Being Prepared in case of fire: You need to be always cautious about fire and be prepared for it. Keep extinguishers nearby during blizzards.
  • Emergency: Always keep emergency items nearby such as blankets, sleeping bags, and clean clothes for everyone. Keep yourself as much as insulated as possible.

9. What Blizzard Caused the Most Damage?

Since you are aware of what damage do blizzards cause, note that the blizzard that caused the most damage till now is the Iranian Blizzard of 1972. This very blizzard caused the death of 4,000 people, which was the deadliest blizzard ever recorded. The blizzard brought 26 feet of snow that covered almost 200 villages with snow. Along with this, there is the Great Blizzard of 1888. This blizzard destroyed the Atlantic coast of the United States causing more than $20 million in property damage, and killing more than 400 people. (See What States have the Worst Weather?)

10. What are the Top 5 Worst Blizzards?

Here is a list of the top 5 worst blizzards: 

  • The Great Blizzard of 1888: The United States was hit by a destructive blizzard in the year 1888, dumping 40-50 inches of snow in New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Connecticut.
  • The Storm of the Century 1993: The Storm of the Century 1993 is also known as the Superstorm of 1993, which is considered one of the deadliest storms of the Eastern United States, causing the death of around 318 people.
  • The Great Appalachian Storm 1950: It started on November 22 and ended on November 30. The very storm dumped about 57 inches of snow, killing over 350 people and injuring 160 people.
  • Schoolhouse Blizzard 1888: This blizzard occurred in Minnesota killing 235 people, most of which were children.
  • The Knickerbocker Storm 1922: This blizzard started on January 22 and killed 98 people, injuring 133. The name is derived from the collapse of Knickerbocker Theatre in Washington DC.

11. What is Worse than a Blizzard?

Among all the winter storms such as snow storms, thunderstorms, hurricanes, tornadoes, etc, the one that is worse than a blizzard is Freezing Rain, which is considered the worst and most dangerous type of winter storm. In this type of storm, there is a warm layer high up in the area, however, the ground layer is below the freezing point. The temperature hovers around 0°C. In this storm, roads are frozen. (Also read What are the Best Words to Describe Storm Clouds?)

So, to answer what damage do blizzards cause, we may conclude with the fact that blizzards are a type of natural calamity that occurs in colder regions. It is one kind of snowstorm which is really dangerous and causes the death of several people and destruction of the buildings, properties as well as wildlife and the environment. Although blizzards pose a life-threatening issue, you should take several possible precautionary steps for safety reasons, which are to have loads of supplies, a source of heat, fire extinguishers, food, water, etc. In times of blizzards, it is recommended to not go outside. 


Written by Alex Williams

Alex Williams is a PhD student in urban studies and planning. He is broadly interested in the historical geographies of capital, the geopolitical economy of urbanization, environmental and imperial history, critical urban theory, and spatial dialectics.

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