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What makes a blizzard a blizzard?

Western New Yorkers may use the word "blizzard" casually during the winter, but storms can't be officially labeled as such unless specific criteria have been met.

There are three key factors:

• Snow or blowing snow.

• It needs to be widespread.

All of those criteria were met Wednesday, forecasters said. The winter storm was officially declared a blizzard by forecasters at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday.

[Complete coverage of the January 2019 blizzard]

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