Was The Blizzard of 2015 Actually a Blizzard?
Most of Maine got over two feet of snow in the Blizzard of 2015. Schools were shut down for two days, businesses closed and even the Post Office didn't deliver mail on Tuesday because of the weather conditions. Sounds like a blizzard right? Was it though?
To find out if this monster of a storm actually was a blizzard there are several factors to take into account.
The National Weather Service defines a blizzard as a storm with sustained wind or frequent gusts to 35 miles an hour or greater and considerable falling and/or blowing snow that reduces visibility frequently to less than a quarter of a mile.
According to data from the NWS taken at the Portland Jetport, there's no doubt we had considerable falling and blowing snow. Two feet pretty much qualifies. The visibility was also less than a quarter of a mile for a good part of the storm.
Guess what though. The winds never made it to 35 miles an hour. Sure there were gusts as high as 45, but the sustained winds topped out at 31.
So by the strict definition of the term "blizzard" this was four miles per hour short in Portland. I guess it would technically be South Portland since that's where the Jetport is right? Seriously...who decided to measure the weather for Portland at the Jetport? I might need to investigate that one for the next storm.