How Do Meteorologists Track Blizzards?
Meteorologists track blizzards with sophisticated computer models that receive data from satellites, according to Almanac.com. These computer models provide tracking data on the intensity and direction of a blizzard. The accuracy of computer blizzard predictions is approximately 85 percent.
Another tool that is used to predict heavy storms such as blizzards is a weather balloon. According to Georgia Public Broadcasting, these balloons are released into the air to measure atmospheric conditions such as wind pressure, wind direction, wind speed and temperature. A meteorologist also considers typical weather patterns from the past when coming up with predictions. Storms often have patterns of behavior that repeat. For example, a major blizzard that happened 10 years ago may provide clues about a current blizzard with the same pattern.
According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center, the National Weather Service defines a blizzard as a severe winter storm that lasts at least 3 hours, with lots of snow, visibility at less than one-quarter mile and high winds at 35 or more miles per hour. Meteorologists rate blizzards from mild to severe when reporting to the public. A winter storm watch refers to a developing blizzard, and a winter storm warning indicates dangerous conditions.