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Boreal Emergency Preparedness Portal

Learn the meaning of Winter Weather Terms

Nov 04, 2019 01:57PM ● By Editor
From the National Weather Service - Duluth - Posted: November 4, 2019

Do you know the winter hazard terms?

A Watch means hazardous weather is on the way – Watches are typically issued with lead times of 36 to 48 hours, and are encouraged to be issued with longer lead times in the three to four day time period when confidence is high.

An Advisory means use caution because hazardous conditions are imminent or already occurring – while you might not need to cancel plans, you should at least plan to allow for extra travel time or, in the case of a Wind Chill Advisory, bundle up more than usual.

Finally, a Warning means travel is discouraged – there is high confidence that hazardous winter weather is imminent or it may be already occurring. In the case of a Wind Chill Warning, extreme cold is expected or occurring and outdoor activities may need to be canceled; in these cases, frostbite can occur on exposed skin in 15 minutes or less!

New this year is the Snow Squall Warning. While these conditions will be very rare in the Northland, they can be issued for intense, short-lived bursts of heavy snowfall that lead to a quick reduction in visibilities. They are often accompanied by gusty winds. These sudden whiteout conditions and slick roadways can lead to extremely dangerous driving conditions in a very localized area.
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