Definition: According to the National Weather Service, a blizzard is called if wintry conditions last for a period of 3 hours or more with winds reaching 35 miles an hour or greater, reducing visibility to less than 1/4 mile.
Origins: The word “blizzard” is relatively new in describing winter storms. In the 1870’s, an Iowan newspaper was considered the first to use “blizzard” to describe a snowstorm. Originally, blizzard was used to depict cannon shots or a volley of musket fire. By the 1880’s, blizzard became a common word across the country during the wintry months.