NYC weather today: How much snow qualifies as a blizzard?

NYC weather today: How much snow qualifies as a blizzard?

NEW YORK - "Wow, it's a blizzard out there!"

Despite heavy snow--falling as fast as 2 inches per hour--NYC is experiencing a major winter storm, not a blizzard.

<div>34th Street NYC :The New York City area is expected to see several inches of snow during a major winter storm. (Credit: Adeja Shivonne)</div>
34th Street NYC :The New York City area is expected to see several inches of snow during a major winter storm. (Credit: Adeja Shivonne)

Blizzards are a combination of blowing snow and wind that results in low visibility--ultimately making for a much more dangerous winter storm.

Although Metro and suburban NY, NJ, and CT will likely see 6 to 8+ inches of snow Tuesday, the storm has not reached blizzard conditions.

Three critical conditions must be met for a snowstorm to be considered a blizzard:

  • Has to snow hard enough to reduce visibility to less than ¼ of a mile

  • Wind gusts must reach at least 35 mph

  • The first two criteria must last three hours or longer

Put these three together and you've got yourself a blizzard.

Temperatures and snowfall amounts are not considered in the definition of a blizzard.

<div>Potential wind gusts on Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2024. (FOX Weather)</div>
Potential wind gusts on Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2024. (FOX Weather)

The National Weather Service defines a blizzard as a storm with large amounts of snow OR blowing snow, with winds above 35 mph and visibilities of less than 1/4 mile for at least 3 hours.

Driving can be especially dangerous or even impossible due to low visibility and slippery roads.

The combination of strong winds and cold temperatures combined to make it even more difficult.

<div>Winter weather alerts in effect in the Northeast and New England. (FOX Weather)</div>
Winter weather alerts in effect in the Northeast and New England. (FOX Weather)

Blizzards can cause power outages, and freeze pipes causing major problems for everyday people.

Most blizzards will also feel colder and windier because of the low wind chills.

NYC travel advisory

NY roads closed

  • Click HERE to track road closures in real time on 511NY.

NJ roads closed

  • Click HERE to track road closures in real time on 511NJ.

CT roads closed

NYC train delays

  • Click HERE to track train delays.

Get updates on snow in your area here.