Interesting Facts about Winter Storms

February 26, 2014 | Environment, Weather

In one of the articles written by Alex Sosnowski, an Expert Senior Meteorologist,  “Minneapolis has averaged 8 degrees below normal with Chicago at 7 degrees below normal and Detroit 6.5 degrees colder than average” since December 1, 2013.

He also added that the “the persistent cold, accompanied by snow and ice at times, has busted budgets for states, cities and townships and caused tens of thousands of flight cancellations nationally. The extreme winter will force many school districts to alter their spring schedules to make up for lost school days.”

So how does winter really happen?

By definition, it is an abnormal event in nature where varieties of precipitation are formed, which by the way happens only when there is extremely low temperature like that of a sleet or snow. It can also happen during a rainstorm where the ground temperature is well beyond zero, allowing ice to form. But contrary to what most people perceive, it isn’t actually limited to areas where there is winter. Yes, a winter storm can occur in temperate continental climates. In these regions, the storm happens in the early spring or as early as late autumn. There was even one time when a winter storm happened in summer, way back in 1816 in northeastern U.S.

Most Devastating Winter Storms in History

Tibet 2008

While winter storms have become a part of everyone’s life, there are those that are disturbingly devastating. They have exceeded all forecasts, broke records, and certainly caused devastation in all aspects of life. They are listed here because they are the worst in recorded history.

  • The Blizzard of 1888 in Northeastern United States – The blizzard of 1888 became a historical event because of how massive it was. Aside from the frigid temperature, it also brought massive amount of snow and snow drips being whipped by strong winds. The entire northeastern U.S., starting from New England to Chesapeake was affected, including New York City. Based on records, more than four hundred people died on the onslaught of the storm and a hundred more were lost at sea.
  • Lhunze County, Tibet Winter Storm of 2008 – Imagine a snow depth of 59 inches? That’s something you don’t usually see even in the harsh winters in the U.S. The Chinese government reported that during this winter storm in 2008, villages experienced nonstop snow for thirty six grueling hours. At this point, snow was dropped to the ground reaching a thickness level of six feet. Because of the enormous amount of snow, many buildings gave in and collapsed. In fact, there were seven deaths reported. The county became isolated and closed for many days and the residents were trapped, unable to get food and supplies from rescue officials.
  • Great Snow of 1717 – The Great Snow of 1717 happened in New England. Actually, it was a collection or series of four snow storms that struck in relatively quick succession, starting in February and ending in the early part of March. While there were really no official records on the effects of the devastation, it is confirmed that heavy snow covered areas as far as Philadelphia. But overall, Boston was the biggest casualty.

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