Winter storms have the capability to completely
immobilize large areas of a state or several
states simultaneously. Winter storms occur in
several forms, such as heavy snow storms,
blizzards, and ice storms. Each in its own way
is a potential killer of hundreds of people
whenever the storm strikes.
The National Weather Service issues forecasts
for winter weather, using various key words.
Knowledge of the definition of these words
will help you better prepare for the upcoming
Types of Storms
Freezing rain or freezing drizzle is rain or
drizzle occurring when surface temperatures
are below freezing. The moisture falls in
liquid form but freezes upon impact,
resulting in a coating of ice or glaze on all
exposed surfaces. This is often called an ice
Sleet is sometimes incorrectly referred to as
an ice storm. Sleet is frozen rain drops, ice
pellets, which bounce when hitting the
ground. Sleet does not stick to trees, but a
sufficient depth can cause hazardous driving
Snow is probably the most significant winter
weather phenomenon. Snow can be continuous,
intermittent, flurries or if showery in
nature, snow squalls. Snow squalls are brief,
intense falls of snow for short durations and
are comparable to summer rain showers.
Blowing and drifting snow can occur together,
due to strong winds and falling snow or loose
snow on the ground.
The most dramatic and dangerous winter storm
is the blizzard. Blizzards are characterized
by low temperatures and by strong winds
bearing large amounts of snow. Snowfall is
usually present during the early stages of
the blizzard. However, most of the snow in a
blizzard is in the form of fine, powdery
particles of snow which are whipped up from
the surface in such great density that at
times the visibility is only a few yards,
creating a blinding condition.
Some Winter Safety Tips
Before the winter season begins, have your
automobile winterized. Keep the gas tank
full, check the tires, brakes, lights,
battery, antifreeze, jumper cables, and give
the car a tuneup.
During winter weather conditions, remember
Avoid all unnecessary travel.
Plan all trips in advance, giving someone
else the route.
Allow plenty of extra travel time.
Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, warm
clothing in several layers.
Cover your head, hands and face.
Do not kill yourself shoveling snow
Remember to also protect animals with
shelter, water and food.