Watches, Warnings, and Advisories in Colorado 

ARE YOU READY FOR THE APPROACHING WINTER? DURING THIS
WINTER WEATHER PREPAREDNESS WEEK...LET'S REVIEW THE CRITERIA OF NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE WATCHES...WARNINGS AND ADVISORIES.

HEAVY SNOW CRITERIA FOR EASTERN AND CENTRAL COLORADO ARE
REPRESENTATIVE VALUES APPLIED OVER A LARGE GEOGRAPHIC AREA.

FOR MOUNTAINS...8 OR MORE INCHES OF SNOW IN 12 HOURS OR LESS... 12 OR MORE INCHES FOR AN EVENT LONGER THAN 12 HOURS.

FOR LOWER ELEVATIONS...6 OR MORE INCHES OF SNOW IN 12 HOURS OR LESS...8 OR MORE INCHES FOR AN EVENT LONGER THAN 12 HOURS.

A WINTER STORM WATCH IS ISSUED WHEN WINTER WEATHER CONDITIONS ARE POSSIBLE WITHIN THE NEXT DAY OR TWO...BUT THE TIMING...INTENSITY...OR OCCURRENCE MAY STILL BE UNCERTAIN.

A WINTER STORM WARNING IS ISSUED WHEN HEAVY SNOW IS OCCURRING OR WILL DEVELOP WITHIN THE NEXT DAY OR TWO. THE HEAVY SNOW WILL BE ACCOMPANIED BY WIND GREATER THAN 17 MPH AND BLOWING SNOW.

A HEAVY SNOW WARNING IS ISSUED WHEN HEAVY SNOW IS OCCURRING OR WILL DEVELOP WITHIN THE NEXT DAY OR TWO. THE HEAVY SNOW WILL BE ACCOMPANIED BY WIND LESS THAN 17 MPH.

A BLIZZARD WATCH IS ISSUED WHEN BLIZZARD CONDTIONS ARE POSSIBLE IN THE NEXT DAY OR TWO.

A BLIZZARD WARNING IS ISSUED WHEN THE FOLLOWING CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED FOR AT LEAST 3 HOURS...

SUSTAINED WINDS OR FREQUENT WIND GUSTS OF 35 MPH OR HIGHER...AND CONSIDERABLE FALLING...AND BLOWING AND DRIFTING SNOW LOWERING VISIBILITIES TO LESS THAN 1/4 MILE.

A HIGH WIND WATCH IS ISSUED WHEN HIGH WIND CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED TO DEVELOP IN THE NEXT DAY OR TWO. SOMETIMES IT WILL BE ISSUED LATE IN THE 6 TO 12 HOUR TIME FRAME IF THE POTENTIAL FOR HIGH WIND EXISTS...BUT THERE IS SOME UNCERTAINTY IN ITS DEVELOPMENT OR LOCATION.

A HIGH WIND WARNING IS ISSUED FOR THE FOLLOWING CONDITIONS...IN THE MOUNTAINS AND SOME HIGH VALLEYS WHEN SUSTAINED WINDS OF 50 MPH OR HIGHER OR GUSTS OF 70 MPH OR HIGHER FOR AT LEAST ONE HOUR...

IN THE LOWER ELEVATIONS WHEN SUSTAINED WINDS OF 40 MPH OR HIGHER OR GUSTS OF 58 MPH OR HIGHER FOR AT LEAST ONE HOUR.

A WIND CHILL WATCH IS ISSUED WHEN WIND CHILL WARNING CRITERIA ARE POSSIBLE IN THE NEXT DAY OR TWO.

A WIND CHILL WARNING IS ISSUED FOR WIND CHILLS EQUAL TO OR LOWER THAN MINUS 25 DEGREES ON THE PLAINS, AND MINUS 35 DEGREES IN THE MOUNTAINS.

A FREEZE WATCH IS ISSUED DURING THE GROWING SEASON WHEN FREEZING TEMPERATURES ARE POSSIBLE WITHIN THE NEXT DAY.

A FREEZE WARNING IS ISSUED DURING THE GROWING SEASON WHEN WIDESPREAD TEMPERATURES ARE EXPECTED TO DROP BELOW 32 DEGREES FOR A PROLONGED PERIOD OF TIME.

REGARDING ADVISORIES...

A SNOW ADVISORY IS ISSUED WHEN GENERAL SNOW ACCUMULATIONS ARE EXPECTED TO BE BETWEEN 4 AND 8 INCHES IN 12 HOURS OR LESS IN THE MOUNTAINS...AND BETWEEN 3 AND 6 INCHES IN 12 HOURS OR LESS AT LOWER ELEVATIONS.

A SNOW AND BLOWING SNOW ADVISORY IS ISSUED WHEN FALLING SNOW IS ACCOMPANIED BY WIND AND BLOWING SNOW...CAUSING TRAVEL PROBLEMS DUE TO LOWER VISIBILITIES AND DRIFTING SNOW.
A BLOWING SNOW ADVISORY IS ISSUED WHEN WIND BLOWN SNOW WILL OCCASIONALLY REDUCE VISIBILITIES...CREATING A HAZARD FOR TRAVELERS.

A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IS ISSUED FOR FREEZING DRIZZLE OR A MIX OF PRECIPITATION TYPES...SUCH AS SNOW AND SLEET...THAT WILL CAUSE HAZARDOUS TRAVEL.

A SLEET ADVISORY IS ISSUED WHEN SLEET IS EXPECTED TO ACCUMULATE TO A QUARTER TO A HALF INCH.

A FROST ADVISORY IS ISSUED DURING THE GROWING SEASON WHEN TEMPERATURES ARE EXPECTED TO DROP TO BETWEEN 32 AND 35 DEGREES.

A WIND CHILL ADVISORY IS ISSUED WHEN WIND AND TEMPERATURE COMBINE TO PRODUCE WIND CHILL VALUES OF MINUS 18 DEGREES TO MINUS 24 DEGREES.

A DENSE FOG ADVISORY IS ISSUED WHEN WIDESPREAD FOG WILL REDUCE VISIBILITIES TO LESS THAN 1/4 MILE.

A BLOWING DUST ADVISORY IS ISSUED WHEN BLOWING DUST REDUCES VISIBILITIES TO BETWEEN 1/4 MILE AND A MILE.

DURING THIS WINTER WEATHER PREPAREDNESS WEEK IN COLORADO PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENTS WILL BE ISSUED TO GIVE SAFETY INFORMATION.


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