Winter Weather Awareness Day


   Winter Weather     Awareness Day

November 17th, 2010

With the winter weather season quickly approaching, it is important to become prepared and aware of the dangers of winter storms. The National Weather Service in Topeka will observe November 17th as a day to help remind residents how to prepare and stay safe when the first winter storm comes rolling through. 

Blizzards, ice, snow, and sleet are all too common across northeast Kansas. Winter phenomena can be as intense as a blizzard and last as long as days. Road conditions can deteriorate quickly, and power lines may snap with the onset of icy conditions.  The Winter of 2009-2010 was a perfect example with the Christmas Eve Blizzard, multiple winter storms, and sub-zero temperatures. For more information on averages and extremes from past winters, scroll down to the header, Winter Averages and Extremes



Break down of winter weather terminology used by Meteorologists

Winter Weather Message:  Segmented product issued every few hours giving details and information on winter weather watches, warnings, advisories, cancellations and safety information.




Winter Storm Watch: Severe winter weather is possible in the affected area. May include; snow storm, ice storm, blizzard, dangerous wind chills, or a combination of these items. Issued 12 to 48 hours in advance.

Winter Storm Warning: Significant and possibly life-threatening severe winter weather will occur, or is about to begin. For example: snowfall of 6 inches in 12 hours and/or 8 inches in 24 hours, a mix or snow and freezing rain or sleet. Issued within 12 hours of conditions.

Blizzard Warning: Wind at least 35 mph with falling or blowing snow reducing visibility to under ¼ mile for at least three hours.

High Wind Warning: Wind gusts above 57 mph or sustained winds at 41 mph or higher, for at least an hour.

Ice Storm Warning: Heavy ice accumulation will cause dangerous and damaging situations, such as downed utility lines and icy roads.

Wind Chill Warning: Wind Chill values colder than 25 below zero.


Winter Weather Advisory: Any combination of winter events that cause significant inconvenience, but probably not life-threatening when caution is exercised. For example; 1-5 inches of snow, light sleet or freezing drizzle, some blowing and/or drifting snow etc…

Snow Advisory: New snowfall of 1 to 5 inches is expected.

Wind Advisory: Sustained winds between 31 and 40 mph.

Wind Chill Advisory: Wind chills of 15 below to 25 below zero.

Freezing Drizzle Advisory: Light ice coating on roads and highways, but no damage is expected to trees/power lines.

Blowing Snow Advisory: Wind-driven snow reducing visibility to ¼ mile or less.

Dense Fog Advisory: Widespread fog with visibility under ¼ mile.



Winter Averages and Extremes

With winter quickly approaching, it's time for people across northeast Kansas to start gearing up for a return of cold and snowy conditions.  Below are some statistics from Topeka and Concordia which reflect some averages and extemes from winters past.  To see the climatological output for this upcoming winter be sure to visit the Climate Prediction Center.



Earliest First Snow

October 9th

October 8th

Latest First Snow

January 21st

December 31st

Average Snow Amount

19.6 inches

22.8 inches

Record Low Temperature

-26 deg

-33 deg



   Top 5 Snowiest Cold Seasons (July through June) 

1. 47.9"  (1911-12) 59.1"  (1959-60)
2. 44.4"  (1959-60) 54.0"  (1943-44)
3. 43.2"  (1992-93) 45.2"  (1957-58)
4. 42.9"  (1978-79) 44.0"  (1970-71)
5. 42.5"  (1914-15) 43.8"  (1911-12)


  Least Snowiest Cold Seasons (July through June) 

1. 3.6"  (1916-17) 2.5"  (1903-04)
2. 4.5"  (1922-23) 3.1"  (1910-11)
3. 4.7" (1965-66) 6.4"  (1988-89)
4. 5.0"  (1907-08) 7.6"  (1980-81)
5. 5.3"  (1927-28) 8.1"  (1965-66)



Below we have provided links on safety, past winter storms over northeast Kansas, and additional articles of interest:

Click here for more information about staying safe and warm during the winter season.

Topeka Tiller November 2010 Newsletter

National Winter Weather Preparedness Page

Owlie Skywarn™ Winter Storm Coloring Book

Winter Storm Dec. 10, 2009

Christmas Eve Blizzard 2009

January 7, 2010 Winter Storm

February 22, 2010 Winter Storm

Winter Storms - The Deceptive Killers


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