1. Education
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

9 Types of Snow Storms


New York City taxi drivers cannot get any busier than during rush hour or on severe and adverse weather days
Guillermo Murcia/Moment Mobile/Getty Images

Snow Flurries:

Flurries are defined as light snow falling for short durations. There is little to no accumulation. The most accumulation that can be expected is a light snow dusting.

Snow Showers:

When snow is falling at varying intensities for brief periods of time, we call is snow showers. Some accumulation is possible, but not guaranteed.

Snow Squalls:

Often, brief but intense snow showers will be accompanied by strong, gusty winds. These are referred to as snow squalls. Accumulation may be significant. Snow squalls are best known in the Great Lakes regions and are often referred to as Lake Effect Storms.

Blowing Snow:

Blowing snow is another winter hazard. High wind speeds can blow snow falling through the atmosphere into almost horizontal bands. In addition, lighter snows on the ground may be picked up and redistributed by the wind causing a reduction in visibility.


A low pressure storm system that is commonly attributed to the cause of winter storms although a true Nor'easter can occur any time of the year.


With winds over 35 mph, blizzards are the most hazardous of the winter storms. Visibility is often near zero and everyone is encouraged to stay in a safe and secure location during a blizzard. Driving is especially discouraged as motorists can easily be stranded.

Ice Storms:

One other type of dangerous winter storm condition is the ice storm. Ice storms are often to blame for multiple deaths in many regions of the world due to the loss of power experienced during an ice storm. Ice storms can accompany any of the other types of winter precipitation.


Rain drops that freeze into ice pellets before reaching the ground are called sleet storms. Sleet usually bounces when hitting a surface and does not stick to objects. Accumulation can cause road conditions to become hazardous, so beware.

Freezing Rain:

When liquid precipitation comes in contact with a surface that is at or below freezing, the liquid becomes solid ice. Surfaces such as trees, cars, and roads often get a coating or glaze of ice that accumulates on the surface. Even small accumulations of ice can cause a significant hazard due to the slippery conditions. The weight of the solid ice on powerlines is also a significant hazard.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.