Snow & Ice Storms

Each year, the National Weather Service issues numerous winter watches, warnings and advisories. Knowledge of those products is a critical element in winter weather preparations.

  • Winter Weather Advisory: Winter weather conditions are expected to cause significant inconveniences and may be hazardous. If caution is exercised, these situations should not become life threatening. The greatest hazard is often to motorists.
  • Winter Storm Watch: Dangerous winter weather is expected within the next two days, but the exact timing, location or occurrence of the storm is still uncertain. This is the time to prepare.
  • Winter Storm Warning: Dangerous winter weather is likely. If not already occurring, it is expected to occur within several hours. Travel will likely become hazardous, if not impossible. You should be ready for the storm by this time. Stay indoors!
  • Blizzard Warning: The most dangerous of all winter weather storms will occur in your area. A combination of winds 35 mph or greater and heavy snow and/or blowing snow with visibilities less than ¼ mile for three or more hours is expected in the Warning area. Blinding snow ("white out"), deep drifts and life threatening wind chill will occur. Travel will be dangerous and should not be attempted. You should seek refuge immediately!

The primary concerns of any severe winter storm are cold weather exposure, the potential loss of heat, power, telephone service, difficulties in travel and transportation, and a shortage of supplies if storm conditions continue for more than a day. Have an Emergency Kit handy during any severe winter storm.

Wind Chill

The wind chill is based on the rate of heat loss from exposed skin caused by combined effects of wind and cold. As the wind increases, heat is carried away from the body at an accelerated rate, driving down the body temperature. Animals are also affected by wind chill.