For sure. To me the definition always seemed a little capricious. In terms of visibility and impact this was one of the worst storms I’ve seen in greater Boston since I’ve lived here (8 years total, 10 if you count my two year hiatus living northwest of Providence which gets similar outcomes on most storms), and I have seen several verified blizzards
And I grew up in the New Haven CT area and again can remember several “verified” blizzards from OKX that were not as bad as this one.
I think the rigid definition is misleading and causes confusion. Kind of the same way Sandy didn’t get a tropical storm warning in NYC. People judge impact by the severity of the watch/warning and in New England, IMO, don’t take it seriously until it’s a Blizzard.
I remember on Tuesday morning telling my coworkers it was going to warm up just in time for a blizzard and they thought I was nuts because “winter storm warning” or watch doesn’t have the same impact on them. Regardless of what the actual product says.
A 14” snowfall isn’t weird for Boston and is usually not all that impactful. A 14” snowstorm in 6-7 hours on the other hand is a whole different matter. And in fairness I think the meteorologists tried to convey this but unless something says 20”+ or blizzard I tend not to see the same preparedness response kick in.
I also wonder about how it effects public officials in their decision making, since it seemed folks were unprepared to make the decisions necessary to keep people off the roads (e.g., travel restrictions, curtailed MBTA Service). Lots of business didn’t close absent the state of emergency warning which poses safety concerns as well as logistical concerns in terms of snow removal.
I don’t know what the solution is that doesn’t sacrifice the science. But there needs to be something explicit that identifies storms as qualitatively different based on impact IMO. Most people don’t even know that Blizzard Watches aren’t s thing anymore. I tend to follow this board in the winter and I didn’t know it until a day or two before the storm. Folks used to take Blizzard Watches more seriously than Winter Storm Warnings, so that word has substantial meaning to folks beyond technical criteria.
I had actually made a bet with my boss’s boss’s boss that we would have a Blizzard. And as I walked in to give her the $5 (petty bet) she was ready to give me $5. We called it a draw. But people will call things a blizzard based on impact to travel and property (and maybe snow totals), and so they think it’s what it means.