Severe Weather Team 11 Winter Weather Guide


Today's Forecast:

School Closings:

Text/Email Alerts:

Severe Weather Alerts:

Weather Maps:

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Winter Watch, Warning Definitions:

  • Winter Storm Watch - 6 inches/12 hours or 8 inches/24 hours possible
  • Winter Storm Warning - 6 inches/12 hours or 8 inches/24 hours imminent
  • Blizzard Watch - Heavy snow / Winds more than 35 kts (3 hrs) / Vis less than 1/4 mile (3 hrs)
  • Blizzard Warning - Heavy snow / Winds more than 35kts (3h rs) / Vis less than 1/4 mile (3 hrs)
  • Winter Weather Advisory - 3 inches/12 hours / Blowing & Drifting snow
  • Ice Storm Warning - Ice accumulation more than or equal to 0.25 inches
  • Freezing Rain Advisory - Any ice accumulation less than 0.25 inches
  • Wind Chill Watch - Indices less than or equal to -25F possible
  • Wind Chill Warning - Indices less than or equal to -25F imminent
  • Wind Chill Advisory - Indices -10F to -24F
  • Lake Effect Snow Watch - (3 counties) 6 inches/12 hours or 8 inches/24 hours possible
  • Lake Effect Snow Warning - (3 counties) 6 inches/12 hours or 8 inches/24 hours imminent
  • Lake Effect Snow Advisory - (3 counties) 3 inches/12 hours


  • Heavy accumulations of ice can bring down trees and topple utility poles and communication towers. Ice can disrupt communications and power for days while utility companies repair extensive damage. Even small accumulations of ice can be extremely dangerous to motorists and pedestrians. Bridges and overpasses are particularly dangerous because they freeze before other surfaces.


    NWS Windchill Chart

How Winter Storms Form:

There are many ways for winter storms to form; however, all have three key components. 

  • Cold Air: For snow and ice to form, the temperature must be below freezing in the clouds and near the ground. 
  • Moisture: Water evaporating from bodies of water, such as a large lake or the ocean, is an excellent source of moisture. 
  • Lift: Lift causes moisture to rise and form clouds and precipitation. An example of lift is warm air colliding with cold air and being forced to rise. Another example of lift is air flowing up a mountain side.


Winter Preparedness:

  • Home and work - Flashlight and batteries. Battery-powered radio. Food and water. First aid supplies and medicine. Heating fuel and emergency heat source.  Smoke alarm and fire extinguisher. Pet food and supplies
  • Survival kit for your vehicle -  Cell phone, charger and batteries. Blankets and sleeping bags. Flashlight with extra batteries. First-aid kit. Knife. High-calorie, non-perishable food. Extra clothing. Large empty can to use as emergency toilet. Tissues and paper towels. Small can and waterproof matches to melt snow for drinking water. Sack of sand or cat litter for traction. Shovel. Windshield scraper and brush. Tool kit. Tow rope. Battery booster cables. Water container. Compass and road maps.


    NWS Windchill Chart

Sources and credit: NWS.NOAA

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