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Weather Talk: The season's first blizzard had some fooled

When Monday's blizzard failed to deliver a heavy snowfall to the Fargo-Moorhead area, many people were wondering why the blizzard warning remained. The reason is that there was, in fact, a blizzard.

By definition, a blizzard is when wind of 35 mph or more, or frequent gusts greater than 35 mph, cause visibility to be reduced to below a quarter mile due to windblown snow, and these conditions must be met for at least three hours.

Certainly, within the city, Monday's storm brought icy roads and a screaming wind, but it was not a blizzard. Also, there were some areas, especially in Minnesota, that did not see full blizzard conditions due to a lack of snow.

However, throughout rural areas of eastern North Dakota and the southern Red River Valley, it was most definitely a blizzard. Conditions were worse where more snow fell.

John Wheeler

John was born in Baton Rouge, LA, and grew up near Birmingham, Alabama. As a teenager, his family moved to Madison, Wisconsin, and later to a small town in northeast Iowa. John traces his early interest in weather to the difference in climate between Alabama and Wisconsin. He is a graduate of Iowa State University with a degree in meteorology. Like any meteorologist, John is intrigued by extremes of weather, especially arctic air outbreaks and winter storms.  John has been known to say he prefers his summers to be hot but in winter, he prefers the cold.  When away from work, John enjoys long-distance running and reading.  John has been a meteorologist at WDAY since May of 1985.

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