Know Your 4Ws: Winter Weather Watches and Warnings

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When it comes to weather, the National Weather Service is the official source of severe watches and warnings.  For the current winter storm making its way across the country, the National Weather Service has already issued winter storm watches, warnings or advisories in over 30 states, and blizzard warnings have been issued for eight states, including Kansas, Missouri, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan and Indiana.

But what do all the watches and warnings mean?  Here’s a quick rundown:

  • Winter Weather Advisory means cold, ice and snow are expected.
  • Winter Storm Watch means severe weather such as heavy snow or ice is possible in the next day or two.
  • Winter Storm Warning means severe winter conditions have begun or will begin very soon. 
  • Blizzard Warning is issued for winter storms when the following conditions are expected to last for at least three hours: winds of at least 35 miles per hour with considerable snowfall that reduces visibility to ¼ of a mile or less. 

And always remember to follow the instructions of state and local officials, and listen to local radio, your NOAA Weather Radio, or TV stations for updated emergency information.

- Brad

Last Updated: 
06/19/2012 - 18:41
Posted on Tue, 02/01/2011 - 10:54
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