How Often Do Blizzards Occur?

The frequency in which blizzards occur depends on the region. For example, in the United States, blizzards are most common in the Great Plains and upper Midwest, but generally do not occur in along the coast of California or in the Gulf Coast region.

The U.S. National Weather Service defines a blizzard as a storm that has sustained winds of 35 miles an hour or greater for at least 3 hours and either falling or blowing snow that has reduced visibility to 1/4 mile or less.

One well-known period of frequent blizzards is the "snow winter" of 1880-1881. During this winter, the upper Midwest saw repeated blizzards from October 1880 until March 1881, causing major disruptions throughout the area.