WeatherTalk: The Red River Valley has already had four blizzards

The average number of blizzards in a winter is three.

Cartoon of John Wheeler with a speech bubble depicting weather events
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FARGO — The Red River Valley region has been in a Blizzard Warning four times already this winter. By definition, a blizzard is defined by a wind of near or greater than 35 mph, or gusts frequently more than 35 mph, together with falling snow or windblown snow cover, so as to produce visibility of less than a quarter mile for at least three hours.

It should be noted that if the blizzard is relying on snow cover, the visibility is often much better in town or in any areas with structures which can strip the wind of the snow. In the modern era of forecasting, over the past few decades, the greatest number of Blizzard Warnings in one winter was eight in 1996-97. The average is around three. Other than the North Slope of Alaska, the Red River Valley has more blizzards on average than anywhere else in the United States.

Related Topics: WEATHER
John Wheeler is Chief Meteorologist for WDAY, a position he has had since May of 1985. Wheeler grew up in the South, in Louisiana and Alabama, and cites his family's move to the Midwest as important to developing his fascination with weather and climate. Wheeler lived in Wisconsin and Iowa as a teenager. He attended Iowa State University and achieved a B.S. degree in Meteorology in 1984. Wheeler worked about a year at WOI-TV in central Iowa before moving to Fargo and WDAY..
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