Winter Weather Awareness Week: Winter storms

Published: Nov. 14, 2022 at 8:23 PM CST
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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – Each year, the National Weather Service and Minnesota Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management work to promote winter safety and preparedness to citizens during Winter Weather Awareness week. This year, Winter Weather Awareness Week is from November 14th through the 18th in Minnesota, and also Wisconsin.

Each day this week focuses on one of five different topics about winter safety information: including winter driving, winter storms, outdoor winter safety, winter fire safety, and indoor air quality during the winter.

Monday’s topic is winter storms and getting to know the various alerts, watches, and warnings we might see during the winter season.

Winter weather alerts
Winter weather alerts(KTTC)

Winter Storm Watch - A Winter Storm Watch means that hazardous winter weather conditions, like heavy snow, blowing snow, freezing rain, or sleet is favorable to impact our area soon. If a watch is issued, it’s important to pay attention to the forecast and start to make preparations. A watch is typically issued to give advanced notice, usually about 24 to 36 hours ahead of an event.

Winter Storm Warning - A Winter Storm Warning means those hazardous winter weather conditions are either happening now or have a high probability of happening in the near future. Most warnings are issued for wind and heavy snow, but can also be issued when ice and sleet are involved. A warning also means you should take immediate action to ensure the necessary safety precautions have been taken. A warning is typically issued 12 to 24 hours ahead of an event.

Blizzard Warning - A Blizzard Warning means that visibility has been reduced to less than 1/4 of a mile for three or more hours due to falling and/or blowing snow, which makes travel nearly impossible. Sustained winds, or frequent gusts, at 35 mph or greater.

Advisories - A Winter Weather Advisory is issued when conditions are not severe enough to issue a warning, but moderately impact travel and warrant an increase in public awareness. Advisories are usually issued 12 to 24 hours ahead of a storm.

Snow Squall Warning - A Snow Squall Warning is an exceptionally rare warning in southeast Minnesota, and most typically apply to lake effect snow squalls where visibility can drop to near zero. This type of warning is issued for one hour or less for a small or specific area.

Wind Chill - Wind Chill is a term used to describe what the air temperature feels like to the human skin due to the combination of cold temps and blowing wind on any exposed skin.