Public Information Statement
Issued by NWS State College, PA
NOUS41 KCTP 071426
The week of November 7th to 11th is Winter Weather Awareness Week
Each day we will feature a different educational message concerning
the dangers and safety concerns associated with winter weather.
WINTER WEATHER TERMS AND DEFINITIONS.
Here are some terms which the national weather service uses to
describe winter weather as well as the definitions of watches,
warnings and advisories issued for winter weather events. A
hazardous weather outlook is issued prior to a winter storm watch.
The outlook is issued when forecasters believe winter storm
conditions are possible. Outlooks are usually issued 3 to 5 days in
advance of a winter storm.
In general a winter storm watch alerts the public to the possibility
of heavy snow, heavy freezing rain, or heavy sleet. Winter storm
watches are usually issued 24 to 72 hours before the beginning of a
winter storm. These events may occur separately or in combination. A
blizzard watch is issued when blizzard conditions are possible in 24
to 72 hours.
Since watches are issued well in advance of the storm, there will be
times when the storm does not materialize, so they may be canceled.
On the other hand, a warning is issued when hazardous winter weather
is imminent or has already begun. It is issued for conditions which
pose a threat to life and property.
The following are the warning headlines issued for winter weather
A winter storm warning is issued when hazardous winter weather
in the form of heavy snow, heavy freezing rain, heavy sleet or any
combination of heavy winter precipitation, is imminent or occurring.
Winter storm warnings are usually issued 12 to 24 hours before the
event is expected to begin.
A blizzard warning is issued for sustained or gusty winds of 35
mph or more, and falling or blowing snow creating visibilities at or
below one quarter mile. These conditions should persist for at least
An ice storm warning is issued when significant ice is expected
to accumulate on trees, powerlines and roads. An ice storm is a very
dangerous storm, disrupting traffic, and knocking down powerlines.
Prolonged power outages can occur leaving people without power for
up to a week or more.
A lake effect snow warning is issued when heavy lake effect snow
is imminent or occurring. A wind chill warning is issued when
wind chill temperatures are expected to be hazardous to life within
several minutes of exposure, usually at temperatures below minus 25
An advisory is issued for less serious weather conditions. Specific
advisories will alert you to weather that would have a significant
effect on motorists, outdoor activities, or public events.
The following are the advisory headlines issued for winter weather
A winter weather advisory is issued for accumulations of snow,
freezing rain, freezing drizzle, and sleet which will cause
significant inconveniences, but if sufficient caution is exercised,
do not usually threaten life and property.
A freezing rain advisory is issued for any accumulation of ice
from freezing rain or freezing drizzle. It only takes a small amount
of ice to make roads very treacherous.
A lake effect snow advisory is issued when accumulations of lake
effect snow will cause significant inconvenience.
A wind chill advisory is issued when wind chill temperatures are
expected to be a significant inconvenience to life with prolonged
exposure, and, if caution is not exercised, could lead to hazardous
If you need timely information, you can get it on NOAA weather radio
all hazards. We broadcast twenty four hours a day across all of
Weather radio monitors are inexpensive and guarantee you the latest
weather whenever you have the need. Our broadcasts will help you
plan for outdoor activities, get travel information, make business
decisions, or decide on the proper clothing to wear. Most
importantly, you will be ready when a winter storm strikes.
We issue frequent updates during active winter weather, that serve
to give you the most up to the minute, and detailed weather
information available. In addition, we issue statements that follow
up on the issuance of watches, warnings, or advisories.