1870: The coining of the term "Blizzard"


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The term blizzard has found a significant spot in our language. A blizzard is officially defined as a storm with "considerable falling or blowing snow" and winds in excess of 35 mph with visibilities of less than 1/4 mile for at least 3 hours. The term has been applied to many snowstorms in American history, most notably the Blizzard of ’88. The term has also been used for snow events that did not meet the criteria – but where big snowstorms none the less. But the term wasn’t even invented until March 14 1870. The Editor of the Dakota Republican of Vermillion South Dakota described the storm: "A violent snowstorm, driven by a heavy NW wind, and continued three whole days and nights. The weather was intensely cold and the heavy fall, flying before a furious wind - blowing as only the prairie winds can blow - rendered traveling exceedingly uncomfortable and dangerous, if not almost impossible." This storm referred to as a blizzard. A baseball team was named after it: The "Northern Blizzards", of Estherville Iowa. The manager said that "We confess to a certain liking for it, because it's at once startling, curious and positively suggestive of the furious and all victorious tempests which are experienced in this northwestern clime."

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