The National Weather Service is calling for a long, severe winter storm from coast to coast this week. Wintry conditions are expected this week for parts of the Great Plains, with significant winter hazards affecting the Midwest in the Northeast. However, something caught my eye this morning. The National Weather Service office in Los Angeles, California has issued a Blizzard Warning. Here’s why.
Before I get into that decision, it’s important to define the term Blizzard. It is one of the most misused terms in meteorology. All large snow storms are called Blizzards. Heck, here in the South, a 2 inch snow event of that particular year will be called “The Great Blizzard”. The National Weather Service glossary defines a Blizzard as, “…the following conditions are expected to prevail for a period of 3 hours or longer: Sustained wind or frequent gusts to 35 miles per hour or greater; and Lots of falling and/or blowing snow (ie reducing visibility frequently to less than ¼ mile).
The National Weather Service – Los Angeles posted a series of ominous warnings Tuesday morning. They wrote, “Winter Storm Warning through late Thursday with low elevation snow, strong winds and very cold temperatures. The National Weather Service is also calling for 2-5 feet of snow above 4000 feet by Saturday afternoon and some values could be 7 feet. Parts of Los Angeles County and the Ventura Mountains are under a Winter Storm Warning until Friday morning and then a Blizzard Warning until Saturday evening.
The Los Angeles office tweeted that this is their first Blizzard Warning since the VTEC coding era began in 2006. I’m sure that doesn’t make sense to most people reading the Tweet so “ According to the website, “Valid Time Elapsed Code (VTEC) enables weather providers and vendors to automate and customize the flow of products delivered to their clients… it allows customers the specific types of messages they want choose to receive.” Okay, it’s still meaningless to most of you, but the important thing is that this is their first Blizzard warning in over 16 years.
As previously mentioned, a powerful system will affect much of the country this week so be aware.