Monday, December 7, 2009

Weathering the Winter Season - know the terms

Weathering the Winter Season
It’s important to understand the differences behind National Weather Service’s advisories, watches and warnings.

An advisory is a “heads-up” that conditions are likely for dangerous weather. Advisories are issued when weather conditions will cause a significant inconvenience and, if ignored, could lead to hazardous consequences.

A watch is stronger than an advisory. It tells you that hazardous weather is likely in the next 12-48 hours. Watches are issued to give you time to prepare and plan for weather threats. When a watch is issued, it’s prudent to listen to NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards and check the forecast frequently atNOAA’s National Weather Service Web site (

A warning means a threat is occurring or is imminent, and you need to take protective action.
Pay close attention to weather forecasts and listen for advisories, watches and warnings like these:
• Winter Weather Advisory – Expect two or more of the following weather conditions: snow,
freezing rain or drizzle, sleet or blowing snow. Be prepared for hazardous driving conditions.
• Winter Storm Watch – In the next 12-48 hours, severe winter weather conditions are favorable for heavy snow, blizzard conditions, freezing rain or sleet.
• Winter Storm Warning – This means that severe weather is imminent or has already begun.
Expect any combination of heavy snow, freezing rain, sleet and strong winds.
• Blizzard Warning – Blizzards are the most dangerous winter storms. A blizzard is heavy snow and strong winds (35 mph or greater) that combine to produce blinding snow with near zero visibility, deep drifts, and a life-threatening wind chill. (

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