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A blizzard is a severe snowstorm caused by strong continuous winds of at least 56 km/h (35 mph) 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. Its Meteorological Terminal Air Report (METAR) code is BLSN. If the snow remains below 8 feet (2 m), it is called drifting snow (METAR code DRSN).
Blizzards can create a variety of dangerous conditions. Snow and strong winds combine to produce a blinding snow - "whiteout" conditions (near zero visibility) and deep drifts due to the drifting snow. Blizzards also can cause a variety of other problems including runway contamination. Low friction indexes in combination with strong crosswinds can lead to hazardous conditions for takeoff or landing. Power outages can occur due to strong winds and heavy snow. Electrical transmission lines may be damaged, pipes can freeze and regular fuel sources may be cut off.
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