What is a Whiteout?

"Whiteout" is a word that you may hear in a winter forecast. It occurs when snow (or even sand) reduces visibility to next to zero. When the ground is covered in a white blanket of snow, new snow that falls from a lake-effect storm or a blizzard can cause the landscape to blend together. Add in whitish grey storm clouds and your sense of spacial boundaries can become warped quickly.

This can obviously lead to very dangerous road conditions. When your vision is impaired during a storm it's important to slow down, leave more space between your car and the car in front of you, and keep your headlights on.

More Weather Glossary

  • Hoar Frost

    After a cold, clear winter night without much wind, the ground and nearby tree branches may be covered by tiny, white ice crystals.

Daily U.S. Extremes

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WeatherWhys®

This Day In Weather History

Milton Exp. Station, FL (1954)
4" of snow, greatest 24 hour snowfall in state history, also greatest single storm total.

Pensacola, FL (1954)
2.1" of snow, greatest 24 hour snowfall in city's history, also greatest single storm total.

East Coast (1962)
Great Atlantic Coast Storm caused over $200 million damage from New England to Florida. Major shoreline erosion from Long Island to North Carolina from 40 foot waves, 70 mph winds. Deep snow piled up in Virginia Mountains. Big Meadows/Blue Ridge Mts. (6th-7th) had 42.0" of snow, greatest 24 hour snowfall.