Severe Weather Terminology (United States) - Definitions of Severe Weather Alerts - Winter Storms

Winter Storms

  • Blizzard Warning - Sustained winds or frequent gusts of 35 mph (56 km/h) or greater, considerable falling, and/or blowing snow reducing visibility frequently to 1/4 mile (0.4 km) or less for a period of three hours or more. There are no temperature criteria in the definition of a blizzard but freezing temperatures and 35 mph (56 km/h) winds will create sub-zero (below -18°C) wind chills.
  • Blizzard Watch - Sustained winds or frequent gusts of 35 mph (56 km/h) or greater, considerable falling, and/or blowing snow reducing visibility frequently to 1/4 mile (0.4 km) or less for a period of three hours or more are possible generally within the next 48 hours.
  • Winter Storm Warning - Hazardous winter weather conditions that pose a threat to life and/or property are occurring, imminent, or highly likely. The generic term, winter storm warning, is used for a combination of two or more of the following winter weather events; heavy snow, freezing rain, sleet, and strong winds. The Heavy Snow Warning and Sleet Warning have been deprecated in favor of issuing the Winter Storm Warning for Heavy Snow and Winter Storm Warning for Heavy Sleet, respectively.
  • Winter Storm Watch - Hazardous winter weather conditions including significant accumulations of snow and/or freezing rain and/or sleet are possible generally within 48 hours. These watches are issued by the Weather Service Forecast Office.
  • Winter Weather Advisory - Hazardous winter weather conditions are occurring, imminent, or likely. Conditions will cause a significant inconvenience and if caution is not exercised, may result in a potential threat to life and/or property. The generic term, winter weather advisory, is used for a combination of two or more of the following events; snow, freezing rain or freezing drizzle, sleet, and blowing snow. The Snow Advisory, and Blowing Snow Advisory have been deprecated in favor of issuing the Winter Weather advisory for Snow and the Winter Weather Advisory for Snow and Blowing Snow, respectively.

The following event-specific warnings are issued for a single weather hazard:

Read more about this topic:  Severe Weather Terminology (United States), Definitions of Severe Weather Alerts

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