Winter storm

Heavy snowfall and strong winds during a 2016 blizzard, New York City
National Guard members clear a road of fallen trees after a February 2021 winter storm in Putnam County, West Virginia.
Snow storm in Modena, Italy
Wet snow and sleet during a winter storm, on the deck of RFA Tidespring south of Plymouth in the English Channel.
Coated in ice, power and telephone lines sag and often break, resulting in power outages.
Crabapple covered in icy glaze due to freezing rain. Ice storms often coat many surfaces. Severe ice storms, which may occur in spring, can kill plant life.
2008 Chinese winter storm in Hefei, Anhui Province, China

Event in which wind coincides with varieties of precipitation that only occur at freezing temperatures, such as snow, mixed snow and rain, or freezing rain.

- Winter storm

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Any disturbed state of an environment or in an astronomical body's atmosphere especially affecting its surface, and strongly implying severe weather.

The Great Red Spot on Jupiter
A snow blockade in southern Minnesota in 1881
A return stroke, cloud-to-ground lightning strike during a thunderstorm.
A sunshower storm in the Mojave desert at sunset.
Effect of wind shear on aircraft trajectory. Merely correcting for the initial gust front can have dire consequences.
The Great Wave off Kanagawa, an 1831 ukiyo-e print by Hokusai
Rembrandt's 1633 The Storm on the Sea of Galilee.
Lightning within the cloud causes the entire blanket to illuminate.
High Desert storm approaches at sunset.
Heavy storm brought by Severe Tropical Storm Sanvu in Hong Kong.
Winter North Atlantic storm strength Beaufort 9 causing extremely high waves.
Storm waves coming abeam from starboard, causing water on deck.

It may be marked by significant disruptions to normal conditions such as strong wind, tornadoes, hail, thunder and lightning (a thunderstorm), heavy precipitation (snowstorm, rainstorm), heavy freezing rain (ice storm), strong winds (tropical cyclone, windstorm), or wind transporting some substance through the atmosphere as in a dust storm, blizzard, sandstorm, etc.


Snow comprises individual ice crystals that grow while suspended in the atmosphere—usually within clouds—and then fall, accumulating on the ground where they undergo further changes.

Norwegian train plowing through drifted snow
Extratropical cyclonic snowstorm, February 24, 2007—(Click for animation.)
Frontal snowsquall moving toward Boston, Massachusetts
Cold northwesterly wind over Lake Superior and Lake Michigan creating lake-effect snowfall
Freshly fallen snowflakes
An early classification of snowflakes by Israel Perkins Warren
An animation of seasonal snow changes, based on satellite imagery
New York City during a 2016 blizzard, which
 produced local wind gusts up to 42 mph and dropped 27.5 in of snow, breaking the city's one-day snowfall record.
Snow-covered trees in Kuusamo, Finland
Fresh snow beginning to metamorphose: The surface shows wind packing and sastrugi. In the foreground are hoar frost crystals, formed by refrozen water vapor emerging to the cold surface.
Firn—metamorphosed multi-year snow
Snow drifts forming around downwind obstructions
A powder snow avalanche
Snowmelt-induced flooding of the Red River of the North in 1997
Snow pit on the surface of a glacier, profiling snow properties where the snow becomes increasingly dense with depth as it metamorphoses towards ice
Snowfall and snowmelt are parts of the Earth's water cycle.
Traffic stranded in a 2011 Chicago snowstorm.
Winter conditions on Ontario Highway 401 in Toronto due to a snowsquall.
Deicing an aircraft during a snow event
Satellite view of the Indus River, showing snow in the Himalayas, which feeds it, and agricultural areas in Pakistan that draw on it for irrigation.
Extreme snow accumulation on building roofs
Icings resulting from meltwater at the bottom of the snow pack on the roof, flowing and refreezing at the eave as icicles and from leaking into the wall via an ice dam.
Alpine skiing.
Algae, Chlamydomonas nivalis, that thrive in snow form red areas in the suncups on this snow surface
Arctic fox, a predator of smaller animals that live beneath the snow
Trucks plowing snow on a highway in Missouri
Airport snow-clearing operations include plowing and brushing
Swiss low-profile, train-mounted snowplow
Bivouac of Napoleon's Grande Armée, during the winter retreat from Moscow
Finnish ski troops during the invasion of Finland by the Soviet Union
Army vehicles coping with snow during the Battle of the Bulge of World War II.
Norwegian military preparations during the 2009 Cold Response exercise
Navy SEALs training for winter warfare at Mammoth Mountain, California.

Snowstorms organize and develop by feeding on sources of atmospheric moisture and cold air.


Heavy snow during the January 2016 United States blizzard.
Blizzard into Tochal Skiing resort, Tehran and involved skiers.
Drifted snow near Burrow-with-Burrow, Lancashire, England, January 1963
Near-whiteout conditions dim the far end of Times Square in New York City, 2015.
March blizzard in North Dakota, 1966.
The Brooklyn Bridge during the Great Blizzard of 1888.
Conditions approaching a blizzard whiteout in Minnesota, on March 1, 2007. Note the unclear horizon near the center.
Illustration of the Great Blizzard of 1888
A snow blockade in southern Minnesota, central US. On March 29, 1881, snowdrifts in Minnesota were higher than locomotives.
Stereoscopic view card showing "Blasting ice with dynamite from in front of steamer on the ways, by Stanley J. Morrow" ~ A view of Yankton's riverfront after the flood of March 1881.
Under the weight of snow, a tree falls next to a car in Asheville, North Carolina

A blizzard is a severe snowstorm characterized by strong sustained winds and low visibility, lasting for a prolonged period of time—typically at least three or four hours.

February 13–17, 2021 North American winter storm

EF3 damage to a home in Sunset Beach, NC where 2 fatalities occurred.
Snow at a Kroger grocery store in Far North Dallas.
A visible satellite loop of a snow-covered South Central U.S. in the aftermath of the winter storm on February 16
Map of snow emergencies in Ohio from February 15–16, 2021, at their most severe levels
Snow in a chair in Monterrey, Mexico, on the early morning of February 15. Temperature was 33°F/1°C
Icicles on stairs as a result of the freezing temperatures, it had rained the day before, 26 °F/-3 °C, Monterrey, Nuevo León, México
Car covered in snow in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon
Car covered in snow in Monterrey, Nuevo León
Car covered in Monterrey, Nuevo León

The February 13–17, 2021 North American winter storm, unofficially referred to as Winter Storm Uri by the Weather Channel, was a major winter and ice storm that had widespread impacts across the United States, Northern Mexico, and parts of Canada from February 13 to 17.


Precipitation that forms when supercooled water droplets in air are collected and freeze on falling snowflakes, forming 2 - 5 mm balls of crisp, opaque rime.

Graupel pellets in morning, having fallen the previous day
Falling graupel
Graupel encasing and hiding a snow crystal from view
Rime on both ends of a columnar snow crystal
Snowflakes can turn into graupel
Almost graupel
Graupel in shape of snowflake

However, both Hail and Graupel are common in thunderstorms with cumulonimbus clouds, though graupel also falls in winter storms, and at higher elevations as well.

January 1998 North American ice storm

Massive combination of five smaller successive ice storms in January 1998 that struck a relatively narrow swath of land from eastern Ontario to southern Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia in Canada, and bordering areas from northern New York to central Maine in the United States.

The ice storm affected a large part of eastern Ontario, southwest Quebec, and New York state. This map shows the accumulation of freezing rain in those areas.
2 in of ice on a twig, illustrating the impact.
A T-shirt sold in Ottawa, Ontario, a region affected by the 1998 North American Ice Storm.

Snow is produced at upper levels in such a winter storm system, but it eventually melts into rain as it falls through a warm air layer of above-freezing temperature (of at least 1200 ft in-depth) associated with the overrunning.

1993 Storm of the Century

Large cyclonic storm that formed over the Gulf of Mexico on March 12, 1993.

Satellite image by NASA of the storm on March 13, 1993, at 10:01 UTC.
A satellite image of the Storm of the Century on March 13, 1993.
Partially dug out car at Fort Devens, Massachusetts, after the storm
The Derecho moves into the Florida coast during the overnight hours of March 13, 1993
NOAA estimate of storm surges along Florida's Gulf Coast, March 13, 1993.

By March 8, 1993, several operational numerical weather prediction models and medium-range forecasters at the United States National Weather Service recognized the threat of a significant snowstorm.

North American blizzard of 1947

Record-breaking snowfall that began without prediction on Christmas and brought the northeastern United States to a standstill.

The snowstorm was described as the worst blizzard after 1888.

Ground blizzard

Lifted and blown by strong winds.

A ground blizzard in Ontario, March 21, 2004

They can be especially dangerous as they occur after a winter storm has passed, when it is assumed that all forms of severe winter weather has ended.

December 2005 North American ice storm

Heavy snowfall and strong winds during a 2016 blizzard, New York City

The December 2005 North American ice storm was a damaging winter storm that produced extensive ice damage in a large portion of the Southern United States from December 14–16, 2005, while extensive snowfall was reported across portions of the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec.