Educational - Winter weather
Back to: Weather Q & A
Keep alert for winter weather warnings - watches and advisories, as well as other terms used by your National Weather Service. Winter weather advisories will highlight difficult weather conditions. Specific advisories will alert you to weather that could have asignificant impact on motorists, outdoor activities or public events. These advisories will be issued for snow, blowing snow, freezing rain or drizzle, blowing snow, fog and extreme cold.
A winter storm watch means severe winter weather may affect your area. pay close attention to weather forecasts..statement sand advisories..and be ready to take precautionary measures.
When a winter storm warning is issued..severe winter weather conditions are imminent..and you should seek shelter as quickly as possible.
Blizzard warnings are issued when sustained wind speeds..or frequent gusts of at least 35 miles per hour..accompany considerable amounts of falling and/or blowing snow. and the visibility is often less than one quarter of a mile.
High wind warnings are issued when winds of at least40 miles per hour..or gusts of at least 50 miles per hour..are expected to last for a minimum of one hour.
In addition to watches and warnings, your weather service uses other terms to alert the public to the threat of hazardous weather.
Freezing rain and freezing drizzle indicate rain that freezes as it strikes the ground and other surfaces. It forms a coating of ice on the ground and these other exposed surfaces(such as trees and powerlines).
Freezing fog is fog that exists belowing freezing, so the fog droplets freeze onto exposed surfaces making for slippery walking, but usually not slippery driving.
Snow when used without a qualifying word, such as "occasional" or "intermittent" means that a fall of snow is continuous or steadyand will probably continue for several hours at least, without let-up.
Snow flurries are intermittent periods of snow (usually light) falling for short durations, with little to no accumulation.
Snow showers are brief periods of snow that may give a light dusting of accumulation. These "showers" fall from convective clouds like sees short rain showers from in the summer.
Snow squalls are brief - but intense - periods of snow, accompanied by strong and gusty winds.
Wind Chill is the effect of wind and temperatures on the rate of heat loss to the human body. It indicates the danger of exposure to the mixture of winds and cold weather.