The National Weather Service (NWS) in Taunton has reviewed the observations from the winter storm that affected our region today.
NWS has determined that the only official reporting site that met blizzard criteria was Block Island, RI (BID).
The definition of a blizzard is that falling and/or blowing snow reduces visibility to below 1/4 mile along with sustained winds or winds that frequently gust to 35 mph or more and that these are the predominant reported conditions for 3 consecutive hours.
When reviewing whether a particular observation location had blizzard conditions, NWS counted visibilities equal to 1/4 mile since that is often quite low for an automated visibility sensor to detect.
At Block Island, blizzard conditions occurred between 8:30 am and 12″05 pm. In that 3 hour and 35 minute period, there were only a few
short gaps in which there was a brief lull in the winds, totaling 18 minutes. Blizzard conditions were predominant.
Six stations had near-blizzard criteria but fell short either because of too many lull periods or because of the length of time. These near-blizzard sites included Boston, MA (BOS), Worcester, MA (ORH), Plymouth, MA (PYM), Providence, RI (PVD), Newport, RI (UUU), and North Smithfield, RI (SFZ).