Winter is Coming: Blizzards in the Big City

Major cities like New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Denver, Detroit, Boston, and Washington D.C. are routinely hit with severe winter weather. If you’re living in a big city, it’s time to start thinking of how you’ll handle snowstorms this winter.

For one thing, snowstorms require a good deal of preparation from both your city and you. Advance preparation helps cities get equipped to handle the severe weather by providing information, curfews, and opening lines of communication for emergency responders.

Familiarizing yourself with how your city reacts in severe weather will help you make your decisions about driving to work, leaving the city, or hunkering down during the storm. It’s also important to know how your city reacts in severe weather because it will help you know what you need to stock up on if you get stuck in the house for a few days. In many cases, if you don’t act fast there will be no bread or milk at your local supermarket.

Over the years there have been a number of strong storms that hammered cities from New York down to North Carolina. Big, bad, snowstorms tend to shut cities down. Historic blizzards dump insane amounts of snow, but at least the response in cities is a little easier than in suburban or rural areas. The biggest issue with clearing the roads, though, is that the population of cities is nominally larger than that of outlying suburban areas.

Cities in areas that aren’t used to heavy snowfall often suffer from poor communication between public city authorities and first responders. Without good communication, the city responds slowly meaning there’s a chance people will get stuck inside schools, office buildings, or other locations. Some southern cities are known for shutting down during snowstorms.

Regardless of how prepared your city may be for an upcoming storm, some people do get snowed into their houses. In 2014, Buffalo was pummeled by a blizzard dubbed “Snowvember”. Many people were stuck in their houses for prolonged periods of time, some without power. In some cases, this storm included, severe winter weather actually affected the number of babies born 9-10 months post-storm. After Snovember in particular, birth rates went up about 25-30% according to local area hospitals. Treetopia recently ranked the top 10 “steamiest” snowstorms based on the spikes in birth rates post-storm, and Snovember ranked highly.


Know your city. Make a plan of how to prepare in the event of severe winter weather. Hunker down, and remember there’s a way to turn up the heat even if the power goes out.

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