What Does the Word “Blizzard” Mean and Where Did the Term Come From For a Severe Snowstorm?

The word blizzard didn’t mean a snowstorm until 1870, when a newspaper editor in Estherville, Iowa, needed a word to describe a fierce spring storm.

The word blizzard had been hanging around with no particular origin for about fifty years and was used to describe a vicious physical attack, either with fists or guns.

After its use by the editor, what better word to describe a violent snowstorm than blizzard?

In the U.S., a blizzard is defined by the National Weather Service as sustained winds or frequent gusts reaching 35 mph or above which causes blowing snow and visibilities of ΒΌ mile or less, lasting for at least 3 hours.