Dear Tom,
Which is more destructive, blizzards or tornadoes?
—Janice Longfort, Gary
Dear Janice,
A blizzard is a severe winter storm that brings winds of 35 mph or higher, low temperatures and sufficient snow in the air to reduce visibility to less than one-quarter mile. Blizzards occur in the Great Plains and Midwest and often affect several states. A tornado is a violently rotating column of air extending from the base of a thunderstorm to the ground, and the air speed within a tornado roars with speeds up to 315 mph. By comparison, a tornado’s path is usually only a few miles long and less than a half mile wide. Tornadoes are tiny compared to blizzards, but their fierce winds can destroy everything in their paths, while the winds, snows and low temperatures of blizzards cause only minor damage but affect huge areas.