A winter storm is an event in which wind coincides with varieties of precipitation that only occur at freezing temperatures, such as snow, mixed snow and rain, or freezing rain. In temperate continental and subarctic climates, these storms are not necessarily restricted to the winter season, but may occur in the late autumn and early spring as well. A snowstorm with strong winds and other conditions meeting certain criteria is called a blizzard.
The winter storm which crossed the USA in 1993 was by many measures the storm of the century. No winter storm so intense had ever affected so vast an area inhabited by so many Americans. Meteorologists coined the term "snow-a-cane", since it combined the characteristics of a hurricane and an blizzard in one vast weather system (although it fell somewhat short of record snow falls for blizzards or wind speeds for hurricanes taken separately). The winter of 1993-94 was the occasion for 12 blizzards in the USA, shutting down rail networks, airports and many government offices and businesses.