The word 'blizzard' has evolved over the years
The term was used as early as the 1820s to describe a violent blow or series of blows in a boxing match.
The word blizzard is believed to originate from the German word “blitz,” meaning lightning or fast. The term was used as early as the 1820s to describe a violent blow or series of blows in a boxing match. As European settlers moved to the American Great Plains, the word was gradually changed to describe a severe blow struck by a snowstorm. The earliest known use by the media was in 1870 when a particularly nasty snowstorm struck Iowa and Minnesota. A newspaper in Estherville, Iowa, described that storm as a blizzard, and the term became widely used within a few years.
Before modern communications and weather forecasting techniques, a blizzard could take a region without warning and strand hundreds of people out in the open without adequate protection. Many people today refer to any heavy snow as a blizzard, but the actual definition requires very strong wind with falling and/or blowing snow reducing visibility to near zero.