What is a winter weather Watch / Warning / or Advisory?


Light snow showers that do not accumulate on the ground.

Widespread and persisant very heavy snow, or consideralbe blowing snow, accompanied by sustained winds or frequent gusts of 35 mph or greater. A blizzard means that visibilities will be less than a quarter mile for several hours.

This is a weather term referring to a period zero visibility, usually resulting from extremely heavy snow and/or wind driven snow. 
  Freezing Rain
Rain that freezes once it hits the ground or an object, creating a coating of ice on untreated roads, walkways, trees, and power lines. 
Rain that freezes and turns to ice pellets before reaching the ground.
Snow that is extremely heavy and accompanied by thunder and lightning. Thundersnow comes down fast and furious, resulting in reduced visibilities or white-out conditions, as well as several inches of accumulation in a short time period. Travel is typically impossible during a thundersnow, even for trucks and plows.

  Lake Effect Snow
This type of snow develops due to the temperature gradient, or difference, between the cold dry air sitting above relatively warm water. 
More about Lake Effect Snow 

Precipitation that evaporates before reaching the ground

A watch is the National Weather Service's way to give the public a "Heads Up" that we are watching a potential storm that could affect the region in the next few days. At this range, the details and specific locations to be affected are still somewhat uncertain.  If there is a watch for your area, you should begin to prepare now for the storm. Making sure you have a survival kit in your home and car as well as several days worth of food and water in the event of a power outage.

As the storm develops and the forecast becomes more detailed, a watch will be followed by a warning or advisory. There are three kinds of winter weather watches. Find out more...






A warning means that hazardous weather is imminent.  You should prepare immediately for a significant winter event that will likely cause damage and/or hazardous conditions which may be life-threatening. 

There are  four type of winter weather warnings that involve snow or ice, and two winter warnings that involve hazardous temperatures, these are referred to as non-precipitation weather events.

There are several types of winter weather warning. Find out more...





An advisory means that weather conditions that will cause inconveniences and may be hazardous but destructive or life-threatening conditions are not expected.  There are several types of winter weather advisories. Find out more...







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