Hurricanes and blizzards are both natural storms that are capable of causing destruction of property in the locality in which they occur. The two natural phenomena occur under different conditions. Hurricanes involve strong winds and heavy torrential downpour whereas blizzards are associated with heavy snowfall (History 1). The two storms have been experienced in several parts of the world with varying consequences depending on their severity. Hurricanes and blizzards are similar in some ways. As aforementioned, the two are both storms characterized by precipitation and strong winds. Hurricanes, however, cover greater distances as compared to blizzards that are only limited to an area with considerable amounts of snow (Roston 1).
Blizzards occur in the winter whereas the hurricanes occur when temperatures are much warmer in the summer and fall, usually between June and October (GFDL 1). When the storms occur, there is usually significant damage to property, and in severe cases, there is also loss of life. Hurricanes occur at greater speed of wind often over 75 miles per hour whereas blizzards are characterized by winds of about 35 miles per hour (Roston 1). Consequently, hurricanes cause greater damage to property as compared to blizzards.
Snow is capable of paralyzing the activities in a locality and causing death and destruction. Over centuries, different parts of the world have experienced monstrous blizzards. A blizzard results in significant drop in temperature, strong winds with velocities reaching 35 miles per hour, and blowing snow that result in snowdrifts capable of burying homes and motor vehicles (History 1). Some of the harshest blizzards ever recorded include the Great Blizzard of 1888, The Storm of the Century, the 2008 Afghanistan Blizzard, The Carolean Death March of 1719, and The 1972 Iran Blizzard, among others.
The Great Blizzard of 1888 was felt on the East Coast of the United States and it paralyzed activities in cities such as Boston and New York among others. More than 400 lives were lost during the disaster beside the huge snowdrift that covered houses and trains (History 1). The Storm of the Century is another blizzard that occurred in 1953 that killed about 318 people. This storm developed in the sea and gained momentum when it reached the Gulf of Mexico. The blizzard resulted in several shipwrecks, drowning, and loss of power in homes (History 1). Granted, Afghanistan has experienced adverse weather including harsh winters. However, the 2008 blizzard that rocked the country emerged as the most severe weather condition to ever hit the country. The blizzard claimed 926 lives because of hypothermia, pneumonia, and other illnesses that came with the drop in temperature (History 1). Structural collapses and avalanches also damaged property and killed livestock. The Carolean Death March of 1719 occurred in the Tydal mountains of Norway during the first month of the year. There were about 6,000 Carolean troops retreating through the mountains after an unsuccessful attack (History 1). A blizzard swept in that claimed the lives of over 3,000 soldiers within two days. The greatest blizzard ever recorded in the recent years is the 1972 blizzard in Iran. The horrific weather conditions that were experienced earlier that year resulted in 26 inches of snow being dumped on villages effectively submerging them and claiming the lives of some 4,000 people (History 1).
A hurricane is a storm characterized by strong winds with speeds greater than 75 miles per hour and heavy torrential rainfall (GFDL 1). Hurricanes often develop in the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean regions where tropical storms in the ocean generate strong winds. These strong winds eventually gain higher speeds that are later categorized as hurricanes. The size and speed of the hurricane and the distance it covers lead to its categorization. Hurricanes are categorized in ascending order of strength from Category One to Category Six (Roston 1). Some of the common hurricanes include Cape May Hurricane of 1821, a category four hurricane that landed in New Jersey with winds over 200 miles per hour; Miami Hurricane of 1926; the 1935 Labour Day Hurricane; Hurricane Charley; Hurricane Katrina, Rita, and Hurricane Sandy. More recently, there have been Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Hurricane Jose that have hit coastal cities of Florida, Texas, and Houston in the US and Puerto Rico (Roston 1). These hurricanes have caused damage to property and infrastructure worth billions of dollars (Roston 1). In many instances, these hurricanes have resulted in the deaths of many people.
The level of precipitation from hurricanes and blizzards today is quite high. The climate models in existence today project that Atlantic sea surface temperatures will continue to warm and that there will be increased warming of the upper tropospheric temperatures. This implies that the rainfall rates will increase gradually and thus the intensity of the storms will increase (GFDL 1). On review, the current studies on hurricanes and blizzards suggest that greenhouse warming will increase the intensity of hurricanes in the near future and that there will be higher rates of rainfall as compared to what is currently being witnessed (GFDL 1).
Blizzards and hurricanes are critical weather conditions that can cause deaths and extensive damage to property. Care should be taken when emergency alerts and weather alerts are sounded. Quick response to warnings can help save lives and improve rescue operations.
GFDL. Global warming and hurricanes: An overview of current research results. August 2017. September 2017 <https://www.gfdl.noaa.gov/global-warming-and-hurricanes/>.
History. History Stories: Major blizzards in U.S. History. 2017. September 2017 <http://www.history.com/news/history-lists/major-blizzards-in-u-s-history>.
Roston, Eric. "Future hurricanes will be worse than Harvey." August 2017. Bloomberg. September 2017 <https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-08-31/future-hurricanes-will-be-worse-than-harvey>.
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