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People Who Died Directly or Indirectly from a Blizzard or Snowstorm

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Blizzard / Snowstorm


Please add people who have died directly or indirectly from a blizzard/snowstorm even though the actual cause of death may be due to another cause... i.e. heart attack, hypothermia, falling tree limb, weather related accident, carbon monoxide poisoning, etc.


A blizzard is a severe snowstorm characterized by strong sustained winds of at least 35 mph (56 km/h) and lasting for a prolonged period of time—typically three hours or more. A ground blizzard is a weather condition where snow is not falling but loose snow on the ground is lifted and blown by strong winds.

In the United States, the National Weather Service defines a blizzard as a severe snowstorm characterized by strong winds causing blowing snow that results in low visibilities. The difference between a blizzard and a snowstorm is the strength of the wind, not the amount of snow. To be a blizzard, a snow storm must have sustained winds or frequent gusts that are greater than or equal to 56 km/h (35 mph) with blowing or drifting snow which reduces visibility to 400 m or 0.25 mi or less and must last for a prolonged period of time—typically three hours or more.

While severe cold and large amounts of drifting snow may accompany blizzards, they are not required. Blizzards can bring whiteout conditions, and can paralyze regions for days at a time, particularly where snowfall is unusual or rare.

A severe blizzard has winds over 72 km/h (45 mph), near zero visibility, and temperatures of −12 °C (10 °F) or lower.[3] In Antarctica, blizzards are associated with winds spilling over the edge of the ice plateau at an average velocity of 160 km/h (99 mph).

Ground blizzard refers to a weather condition where loose snow or ice on the ground is lifted and blown by strong winds. The primary difference between a ground blizzard as opposed to a regular blizzard is that in a ground blizzard no precipitation is produced at the time, but rather all the precipitation is already present in the form of snow or ice at the surface.

The Australia Bureau of Meteorology describes a blizzard as, "Violent and very cold wind which is laden with snow, some part, at least, of which has been raised from snow covered ground."

Blizzard conditions of cold temperatures and strong winds can cause wind chill values that can result in hypothermia or frostbite. The wind chill factor is the amount of cooling the human body feels due to the combination of wind and temperature.

In the United States, storm systems powerful enough to cause blizzards usually form when the jet stream dips far to the south, allowing cold, dry polar air from the north to clash with warm, humid air moving up from the south.[2][5] They are most common in the Great Plains, the Great Lakes states, and the northeastern states along the coast, and less common in the Pacific Northwest.

A nor'easter is a macro-scale storm along the East Coast of the United States and Atlantic Canada. It gets its name from the direction the wind is coming from. The usage of the term in North America comes from the wind associated with many different types of storms some of which can form in the North Atlantic Ocean and some of which form as far south as the Gulf of Mexico. The term is most often used in the coastal areas of New England and Atlantic Canada. This type of storm has characteristics similar to a hurricane. More specifically it describes a low-pressure area whose center of rotation is just off the East Coast and whose leading winds in the left-forward quadrant rotate onto land from the northeast. High storm waves may sink ships at sea and cause coastal flooding and beach erosion. Notable nor'easters include The Great Blizzard of 1888, one of the worst blizzards in U.S. history. It dropped 100–130 cm (40–50 in) of snow and had sustained winds of more than 45 miles per hour (72 km/h) that produced snowdrifts in excess of 50 feet (15 m). Railroads were shut down and people were confined to their houses for up to a week. It killed 400 people, mostly in New York.

Historic events:

1972 Iran blizzard

  • The 1972 Iran Blizzard, which caused approximately 4,000 deaths, was the deadliest blizzard in recorded history. Dropping as much as 26 feet (7.9 m) of snow, it completely covered 200 villages. After a snowfall lasting nearly a week, an area the size of Wisconsin was entirely buried in snow.

The Snow Winter of 1880–1881

  • The winter of 1880–1881 is widely considered the most severe winter ever known in the United States. Many children—and their parents—learned of "The Snow Winter" through the children's book The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder, in which the author tells of her family's efforts to survive. The snow arrived in October 1880 and blizzard followed blizzard throughout the winter and into March 1881, leaving many areas snowbound throughout the entire winter. Accurate details in Wilder's novel include the blizzards' frequency and the deep cold, the Chicago and North Western Railway stopping trains until the spring thaw because the snow made the tracks impassable, the near-starvation of the townspeople, and the courage of her future husband Almanzo and another man, who ventured out on the open prairie in search of a cache of wheat that no one was even sure existed.

List of blizzards

(Please make a project for any of these if you know of someone who died in one of these & link it to this project...)

North America See also: List of Regional Snowfall Index Category 5 winter storms and List of NESIS storms

  • The Great Snow 1717 series of four snowstorms between February 27 and March 7, 1717. There were reports of about five feet of snow already on the ground when the first of the storms hit. By the end, there were about ten feet of snow and some drifts reaching 25 feet, burying houses entirely. In the colonial era, this storm made travel impossible until the snow simply melted.[12]
  • Blizzard of 1772 (The Washington and Jefferson Snowstorm of 1772) January 26–29, 1772. One of largest D.C. and Virginia area snowstorms ever recorded. Snow accumulations of 3 feet recorded.[13]
  • "The Great Snowstorm" raged from Georgia to Maine. January 16, 1831
  • Great Plains Easter Blizzard of 1873. April 13, 1873
  • The Snow Winter of 1880–1881. Laura Ingles Wilder's book: The Long Winter details the effects of the blizzards in the Dakota territory of the winter of 1880–1881.
  • In the three year winter period from December 1885 to March 1888, the Great Plains and Eastern United States suffered a series of the worst blizzards in this nation's history ending with the Schoolhouse Blizzard and the Great NYC Blizzard of 1888. The massive explosion of the volcano Krakatoa in the South Pacific late in August 1883 is a suspected cause of these huge blizzards during these several years. The clouds of ash it emitted continued to circulate around the world for many years. Weather patterns continued to be chaotic for years, and temperatures did not return to normal until 1888. Record rainfall was experienced in Southern California during July 1883 to June 1884. The Krakatoa eruption injected an unusually large amount of sulfur dioxide (SO2) gas high into the stratosphere which reflects sunlight and helped cool the planet over the next few years until the suspended atmospheric sulfur fell to ground.
  • Plains blizzard of late 1885. In Kansas, heavy snows of late 1885 had piled drifts ten feet high.[14]
  • Kansas Blizzard of 1886. First week of January 1886. Reported that 80 percent of the cattle were frozen to death in that state alone from the cold and snow.[14]
  • Great Plains Blizzards of late 1886. On November 13, 1886 it reportedly began to began to snow and did not stop for a month in the Great Plains region.[15]
  • Great Plains Blizzard of 1887. January 9–11, 1887. Reported 72-hour blizzard that covered parts of the Great Plains in more than 16 inches of snow. Winds whipped and temperatures dropped to around -50F. So many cows that weren’t killed by the cold soon died from starvation. When spring arrived, millions of the animals were dead, with around 90 percent of the open range’s cattle rotting where they fell. Those present reported carcasses as far as the eye could see. Dead cattle clogged up rivers and spoiled drinking water. Many ranchers went bankrupt and others simply called it quits and moved back east. The "Great Die-Up" from the blizzard effectively concluded the romantic period of the great Plains cattle drives.[16]
  • Schoolhouse Blizzard of 1888, North American Great Plains. January 12–13, 1888. What made the storm so deadly was the timing (during work and school hours), the suddenness, and the brief spell of warmer weather that preceded it. In addition, the very strong wind fields behind the cold front and the powdery nature of the snow reduced visibilities on the open plains to zero. People ventured from the safety of their homes to do chores, go to town, attend school, or simply enjoy the relative warmth of the day. As a result, thousands of people—including many schoolchildren—got caught in the blizzard.
  • Great Blizzard of 1888 March 11–13, 1888. One of the most severe recorded blizzards in the history of the United States. On March 12, an unexpected northeaster hit New England and the mid-Atlantic, dropping up to 130 cm (50 in) of snow in the space of two days. Some 400 people died, including many sailors aboard vessels that were beset by gale-force winds and turbulent seas. In parts of New York City, snowdrifts reached up to the second story of some buildings.
  • Great Blizzard of 1899 February 11–14, 1899. An extremely unusual blizzard in that it reached into the far southern states of America. It hit in February, and the area around Washington, D.C., experienced 51 hours straight of snowfall. The port of New Orleans was totally iced over; revelers participating in the New Orleans Mardi Gras had to wait for the parade routes to be shoveled free of snow. Concurrent with this blizzard was the extremely cold arctic air. Many city and state record low temperatures date back to this event, including all-time records for locations in the Midwest and South. State record lows: Nebraska reached −47 °F (−44 °C), Ohio experienced −39 °F (−39 °C), Louisiana bottomed out at −16 °F (−27 °C), and Florida dipped below zero to −2 °F (−19 °C).
  • Great Lakes Storm of 1913 November 7–10, 1913. “The White Hurricane” of 1913 was the deadliest and most destructive natural disaster ever to hit the Great Lakes Basin in the Midwestern United States and the Canadian province of Ontario. It produced 140 km/h (90 mph) wind gusts, waves over 11 m (35 ft) high, and whiteout snowsqualls. It killed more than 250 people, destroyed 19 ships, and stranded 19 others. Perhaps the most well-known ship to go down in a November gale was the SS Edmund Fitzgerald in 1975.
  • 1920 North Dakota blizzard March 15–18, 1920
  • Knickerbocker Storm January 27–28, 1922
  • Armistice Day Blizzard November 10–12, 1940. Took place in the Midwest region of the United States on Armistice Day. This "Panhandle hook" winter storm cut a 1,600-kilometre-wide path (1,000 mi) through the middle of the country from Kansas to Michigan. The morning of the storm was unseasonably warm but by mid afternoon conditions quickly deteriorated into a raging blizzard that would last into the next day. A total of 145 deaths were blamed on the storm, almost a third of them duck hunters who had taken time off to take advantage of the ideal hunting conditions. Weather forecasters had not predicted the severity of the oncoming storm, and as a result the hunters were not dressed for cold weather. When the storm began many hunters took shelter on small islands in the Mississippi River, and the 80 km/h (50 mph) winds and 1.5-metre (5 ft) waves overcame their encampments. Some became stranded on the islands and then froze to death in the single-digit temperatures that moved in over night. Others tried to make it to shore and drowned.
  • North American blizzard of 1947 December 25–26, 1947. Was a record-breaking snowfall that began on Christmas Day and brought the Northeast United States to a standstill. It was not accompanied by high winds, but the snow fell steadily with drifts reaching 3.0 m (10 ft). Seventy-seven deaths were attributed to the blizzard.
  • The Blizzard of '49
  • Great Appalachian Storm of November 1950 November 24–30, 1950
  • The Mount Shasta California Snowstorm of 1959 - The storm dumped 189 inches of snow on Mount Shasta. The bulk of the snow fell on unpopulated mountainous areas, barely disrupting the residents of the Mount Shasta area. The amount of snow recorded is the largest snowfall from a single storm in North America.
  • North American blizzard of 1966 January 27–31, 1966
  • Chicago Blizzard of 1967 January 26–27, 1967
  • February 1969 nor'easter February 8–10, 1969
  • The Great Storm of 1975 known as the "Super Bowl Blizzard" or "Minnesota's Storm of the Century". January 9–12, 1975
  • Groundhog Day gale of 1976 February 2, 1976
  • Buffalo Blizzard of 1977 January 28-February 1, 1977. There were several feet of packed snow already on the ground, and the blizzard brought with it enough snow to reach Buffalo’s record for the most snow in one season – 199.4 inches.[12]
  • Great Blizzard of 1978 also called the Cleveland Superbomb. January 25–27, 1978. Was one of the worst snowstorms the Midwest has ever seen. Wind gusts approached 160 km/h (100 mph), causing snowdrifts to reach heights of 7.6 m (25 ft) in some areas, making roadways impassable.
  • Northeastern United States Blizzard of 1978 - February 6–7, 1978
  • Chicago Blizzard of 1979 January 13–14, 1979
  • 1991 Halloween blizzard Upper Mid-West US, October 31-November 3, 1991
  • December 1992 nor'easter December 10–12, 1992
  • 1993 Storm of the Century March 12–15, 1993. While the southern and eastern U.S. and Cuba received the brunt of this massive blizzard, the Storm of the Century impacted a wider area than any in recorded history.
  • Blizzard of 1996 January 6–10, 1996
  • April Fool's Day Blizzard March 31-April 1, 1997. US East Coast
  • 1997 Western Plains winter storms October 24–26, 1997
  • Mid West Blizzard of 1999 January 2–4, 1999
  • January 25, 2000 Southeastern United States winter storm January 25, 2000. North Carolina and Virginia
  • North American blizzard of 2003 February 14–19, 2003 (Presidents' Day Storm II)
  • December 2003 nor'easter December 6–7, 2003
  • North American blizzard of 2005 January 20–23, 2005
  • North American blizzard of 2006 February 11–13, 2006
  • Early winter 2006 North American storm complex Late November 2006
  • Colorado Holiday Blizzards (2006–07) December 20–29, 2006 Colorado
  • February 2007 North America blizzard February 12–20, 2007
  • January 2008 North American storm complex January, 2008 West Coast US
  • North American blizzard of 2008 March 6–10, 2008
  • 2009 Midwest Blizzard 6–8 December 2009, a bomb cyclogenesis event that also affected parts of Canada
  • North American blizzard of 2009 December 16–20, 2009
  • 2009 North American Christmas blizzard December 22–28, 2009
  • February 5–6, 2010 North American blizzard February 5–6, 2010 Referred to at the time as Snowmageddon was a Category 3 ("major") nor'easter and severe weather event.
  • February 9–10, 2010 North American blizzard February 9–10, 2010
  • February 25–27, 2010 North American blizzard February 25–27, 2010
  • October 2010 North American storm complex October 23–28, 2010
  • December 2010 North American blizzard December 26–29, 2010
  • January 31 – February 2, 2011 North American blizzard January 31-February 2, 2011. Groundhog Day Blizzard of 2011
  • 2011 Halloween nor'easter October 28-Nov 1, 2011
  • Hurricane Sandy October 29–31, 2012. West Virginia, western North Carolina, and southwest Pennsylvania received heavy snowfall and blizzard conditions from this hurricane
  • November 2012 nor'easter November 7–10, 2012
  • December 17–22, 2012 North American blizzard December 17–22, 2012
  • December 25–28, 2012 North American storm complex December 25–28, 2012
  • February 2013 nor'easter February 7–20, 2013
  • February 2013 Great Plains blizzard February 19-March 6, 2013
  • March 2013 nor'easter March 6, 2013
  • October 2013 North American storm complex October 3–5, 2013
  • January 2015 North American blizzard January 26–27, 2015
  • Late December 2015 North American storm complex December 26–27, 2015 Was one of the most notorious blizzards in the state of New Mexico and West Texas ever reported. It had sustained winds of over 30 mph and continuous snow precipitation that lasted over 30 hours. Dozens of vehicles were stranded in small county roads in the areas of Hobbs, Roswell, and Carlsbad New Mexico. Strong sustained winds destroyed various mobile homes.
  • January 2016 United States blizzard January 20–23, 2016
  • February 2016 North American storm complex February 1–8, 2016 Canada
  • The Eastern Canadian Blizzard of 1971 - Dumped a foot and a half (45.7 cm) of snow on Montreal and more than two feet (61 cm) elsewhere in the region. The blizzard caused the cancellation of a Montreal Canadiens hockey game for the first time since 1918.[18]
  • Saskatchewan blizzard of 2007 - January 10, 2007 Canada United Kingdom
  • Winter of 1946–1947 in the United Kingdom
  • Winter of 1962–1963 in the United Kingdom
  • February 2009 Great Britain and Ireland snowfall Other locations
  • 1954 Romanian blizzard
  • 1972 Iran blizzard
  • Winter of 1990–1991 in Western Europe
  • 2008 Chinese winter storms
  • Winter storms of 2009–2010 in East Asia

How many deaths has this storm caused in the last 5 years?

In the United States, about 400 people die from blizzards each year, causing about 2,000 American deaths every 5 years caused by blizzards.  Many more deaths occur worldwide.

Ten deadliest Blizzards:

  • 1972 Iran Blizzard (Iran)- 4000
  • 1719 Carolean Death March (Sweden/Norway) - 3000
  • 2008 2008 Afghanistan Blizzard (Afghanistan) - 926
  • 1888 Great Blizzard of 1888 (USA)
  • 1993 1993 North American Storm Complex (USA) - 318
  • 1888 Schoolhouse Blizzard (USA) - 235
  • 1902 Hakko-da Mountains incident (Japan) - 199
  • 1996 North American blizzard of 1996 - 154
  • 1940 Armistice Day Blizzard (USA) - 144
  • 2008 2008 Chinese winter storms (China) - 133

Additional Reading:

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