Winter can be tough in the Northland, just as tough as its residents. It is important to be prepared for all kinds of weather, from freezing rain to snow, and from temperatures near freezing to well below zero. Knowing the correct terminology the WDIO Storm Track meteorologists use the winter can help keep you and your family safe. It is important to always keep a close eye on the forecast when heading out to enjoy your day.
Winter Storm Watch: is issued when winter storm conditions are possible within the next 3 days. The timing, intensity, or occurrence of the winter storm may still be uncertain.
Winter Storm Warning: Indicates heavy snow (greater than 6”), heavy sleet (1/2” +), or a combination of winter weather hazards are highly likely or occurring. Stay indoors and adjust travel plans.
Blizzard Watch: Conditions are favorable for a blizzard event in the next 24 to 72 hours. Sustained wind or frequent gusts greater than or equal to 35 mph will accompany falling and/or blowing snow to frequently reduce visibility to less than ¼ mile for three or more hours.
Blizzard Warning: Strong winds of 35 mph or greater will combine with snowfall to produce blinding snow, near zero visibility, deep drifts, and life threatening conditions, especially for people attempting to travel.
Snow Squall Warning: a short fused warning product (normally 30-60 minutes) used to warn of an intense, short-lived burst of heavy snowfall. This will be issued for a combination of quick reduction in visibilities (less than 1/4 mile), sudden whiteout conditions, and slick/hazardous roads.
Lake Effect Snow: is produced during cooler atmospheric conditions when a cold air mass moves across long expanses of warmer lake water. The lower layer of air, heated by the lake water, picks up water vapor from the lake and rises up through the colder air above to be deposited as snow on opposite shoreline downwind of warm water.
Lake Effect Snow Watch: Conditions are favorable for a lake effect snow event to meet or exceed local lake effect snow warning criteria in the next 24 to 72 hours. Widespread or localized lake induced snow squalls or heavy snow showers which produce snowfall accumulation to seven or more inches in 12 hours or less.
Lake Effect Warning: A lake effect snow event is expected to meet or exceed local lake effect snow warning criteria in the next 12 to 36 hours. Widespread or localized lake induced snow squalls or heavy snow showers which produce snowfall accumulation to seven or more inches in 12 hours or less.
Wind Chill Advisory: Dangerous wind chills of 15 to 24 below zero.
Wind Chill Warning: Life-threatening wind chills of 25 to 30 below zero or colder.