Winter Terms...

Winter Precipitation


·            Flurries - Light snow falling for short durations.  No accumulation or light dusting is all that is expected.

·            Showers - Snow falling at varying intensities for brief periods of time.  Some accumulation is possible.

·            Squalls - Brief, intense show showers accompanied by strong, gusty winds.  Accumulation may be significant.  Snow squalls are best known in the Great Lakes region.

·            Blowing Snow - Wind-driven snow that reduces visibility and causes significant drifting.  Blowing snow may be snow that is falling and/or loose snow on the ground picked up by the wind.

·            Blizzard - Winds over 35 mph with snow and blowing snow reducing visibilities to near zero.


·            Is rain drops that freeze into ice pellets before reaching the ground.  Sleet usually bounces when hitting a surface and does not stick to objects.  However, it can accumulate like snow and cause a hazard to motorists.

Freezing Rain

·            Is rain that falls onto a surface with a temperature below freezing.  This causes it to freeze to surfaces, such as trees, cars, and roads, forming a coating or glaze of ice.  Even small accumulations of ice can cause a significant hazard.

Wind Chill

·            The wind chill is based on the rate of heat loss from exposed skin caused by combined effects of wind and cold.  As the wind increases, heat is carried away from the body at an accelerated rate, driving down the body temperature.  Animals are also affected by wind chill.


Terms that the National Weather Service will use in

forecasts and statements


·            Winter Storm Watch - Severe winter conditions, such as heavy snow and/or ice, are possible within the next day or two.  Prepare Now!

·            Winter Storm Warning - Severe winter conditions have begun or are about to begin in your area.  Stay Indoors!

·            Blizzard Warning - Snow and strong winds will combine to produce a blinding snow (near zero visibility), deep drifts, and life-threatening wind chill.  Seek Refuge Immediately!

·            Winter Weather Advisory - Winter weather conditions are expected to cause significant inconveniences and may be hazardous.  If caution is exercised, these situations should not become life-threatening.  The greatest hazard is often to motorists.


Things to do at home or work BEFORE the storm



Primary concerns are the potential loss of heat, power,

telephone service, and a shortage of supplies if storm conditions

continue for more than a day.

Have available:

·            Flashlight and extra batteries.

·            Battery-powered Weather Radio and portable radio – These are used to receive emergency information.  They may be your only link to the outside.

·            Extra food and water.  High energy food, such as dried fruit or candy, and food requiring no cooking or refrigeration is best.

·            Extra medicine and baby items.

·            First-aid supplies.

·            Heating fuel.  Fuel carriers may not reach you for days after a severe winter storm.

·            Emergency heating source, such as a fireplace, wood stove, space heater, etc.  Make sure you know how to uses the heating sources to prevent a fire and make sure you have proper ventilation.

·            Fire extinguisher and smoke detector.  Test units regularly to ensure they are working properly.

On the farm....

·            Move animals to sheltered areas.  Shelter belts, properly laid out and oriented, are better protection for cattle than confining shelters, such as sheds.

·            Haul extra feed to nearby feeding areas.

·            Have a water supply available.  Most animal deaths in winter storms are from dehydration.

In cars and trucks....

Plan your travel and check the latest weather reports to avoid

the storm!

·            Fully check and winterize your vehicle before the winter season begins.

·            Carry a WINTER STORM SURVIVAL KIT that includes:

Blankets or sleeping bags

Flashlight with extra batteries

First aid kit

Knife High-calorie, non-perishable food

Extra clothing to keep dry

An empty can and water-proof matches to melt snow

 for drinking water

Shovel, windshield scraper and brush

Tool kit, tow rope, and booster cables

·            Keep your gas tank near full to avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines.

·            Try not to travel alone.

·            Let someone know your timetable and primary and alternate routes.


To find out more on winter driving…Click Here


Dress to fit the season.  Wear loose-fitting, light-weight, warm

clothing in several layers.  Trapped air insulates.  Layers can be

removed to avoid perspiration and subsequent chill.  Outer

garments should be tightly woven, water repellent and hooded. 

Wear a hat.  Half your body heat loss can be from the head. 

Cover your mouth to protect your lungs from extreme cold. 

Mittens, snug at the wrist, are better than gloves. 

Try to stay dry.


Page Created by Steven Kisner, WCM
National Weather Service Hastings, NE
Last modified October 27, 2004 is the U.S. government's official web portal to all federal, state and local government web resources and services.