STORM OUTLOOK: Issued when there is a chance of a major winter
to 5 days in the future. This is meant to assist people with their long
range plans. However, since the outlook is issued so far in advance, the
accuracy of the prediction may be limited.
WINTER STORM WATCH: Issued when there
may be hazardous winter weather due to various elements such as heavy
snow, sleet, or ice accumulation from freezing rain. In our region, heavy
snow means 7 inches or more of accumulation in 12 hours or less, or 9
inches or more of accumulation in 24 hours or less.
WATCH: Issued when there is a possibility of heavy lake effect snow
(accumulating 7 inches of more within a 12 hour period or 9 inches or more
within a 24 hour period). Lake effect snow usually occurs in narrow bands
over limited areas.
BLIZZARD WATCH: Issued when conditions
are favorable for a blizzard event within the next 12 to 48 hours.
HEAVY SNOW WARNING: Issued for 7 inches or more of snow within a 12 hour
period or 9 inches or more of snow within a 24 hour period.
WARNING: Issued when heavy lake effect snow is occurring, is
imminent, or has a very high probability of occurring within the next 12
hours. The snow is expected to accumulate 7 inches or more within a 12
hour period or 9 inches or more within a 24 hour period. This is similar
to a Heavy Snow Warning, except
induced squalls/showers occur in narrow bands and over limited areas. Lake
effect snow squalls/showers can occur quite suddenly and cause
STORM WARNING: Is issued when ice accumulation of ˝ inch or
greater (enough to bring down power lines) is expected within the next 12
STORM WARNING: Is issued when severe winter weather having more
than one predominant hazard (for example heavy snow and blowing snow, snow
and ice, or combination of heavy snow, sleet, and/or freezing rain) is
expected within the next 12 hours.
BLIZZARD WARNING: Is issued for severe
winter conditions including a combination of strong winds averaging or
frequently gusting to, or above, 35 miles an hour and very low visibility
due to blowing or falling snow. These are the most dangerous winter storms
and can be especially severe when combined with temperatures below 10
Advisories, in general, are issued for weather conditions that are
expected to cause significant inconveniences and may be hazardous, These
situations are normally not life threatening if caution is exercised.
ADVISORIES are issued for winter events having more than one
predominant hazard, meeting the advisory criteria for at least one of the
elements, but remaining below warning criteria. Examples include could
include freezing rain, snow and ice or snow and sleet.
We also issue several
"non-precipitation" watches, warnings and advisories:
WATCH: Is issued when conditions are favorable for damaging winds
to occur within 12 to 48 hours.
CHILL WATCH: Is issued when there is a possibility of dangerous
wind chill values.
WARNING: Expected winds will average 40 mph or more for at least 1
hour or winds gusts will be greater than 58 mph. Trees and power lines can
be blown down.
CHILL WARNING: Life threatening cold with wind chill temperatures
computed to be -25 degrees or less (-30 degrees or less in Jefferson and
Lewis counties) for at least 3 hours. Exposure to this combination of
strong winds and low temperatures without protective clothing will quickly
lead to frostbite and/or hypothermia. Longer exposures can be fatal.
ADVISORY: Issued for average wind speeds between 31 and 39 mph, or
for frequent wind gusts between 46 and 57 mph.
CHILL ADVISORY: Issued for cold temperatures and winds, with wind
chill temperatures computed to be -15 degrees or less (-20 degrees or less
for Jefferson and Lewis counties) for at least 3 hours. Exposure to this
combination of strong winds and low temperatures without protective
clothing can lead to frostbite and/or hypothermia. Prolonged exposure may
LAKESHORE FLOOD WARNING:
Issued only when Lake Erie is expected to reach or exceed
shelter: Try to stay dry. Cover all exposed parts of the body.
No shelter: Prepare a lean-to, wind-break, or snow cave for protection
from the wind. Build a fire for heat and to attract attention. Place rocks
around the fire to absorb and reflect heat.
Do not eat snow. It will lower your body temperature. Melt it first.
IN A CAR OR TRUCK:
Stay in your car or truck. Disorientation occurs quickly in wind-driven
snow and cold.
Run the motor about ten minutes each hour for heat:
- open the window a little for fresh air to avoid carbon monoxide
- make sure the exhaust pipe is not blocked.
Make yourself visible to rescuers:
- turn on the dome light at night when running engine.
- tie a colored cloth (preferably red) to your antenna or door.
- raise the hood indicating trouble after snow stops falling.
Exercise from time to time by vigorously moving arms, legs, fingers,
and toes to keep blood circulating and to keep warm.
AT HOME OR IN A BUILDING: Stay
inside. When using alternative heat from a fireplace, wood stove, space
- use fire safeguards.
- properly ventilate.
Eat and drink. Food provides the body with energy for producing its own
heat. Keep the body replenished with fluids to prevent dehydration. Wear
layers of loose-fitting, light-weight, warm clothing. Remove layers to
avoid overheating, perspiration, and subsequent chill.
- close off unneeded rooms.
- stuff towels or rags in cracks under doors.
- cover windows at night.
such as shoveling heavy snow, pushing a car, or walking in deep snow. The
strain from the cold and the hard labor may cause a heart attack. Sweating
could lead to a chill and hypothermia.
When CAUGHT in a Winter
KEEP AHEAD OF THE STORM
by listening to NOAA Weather
Radio, commercial radio, and television for the latest winter storm
watches, warnings, and advisories.
What to Listen For:
WINTER STORM WATCH:
Severe winter conditions, such as heavy snow and/or ice, are possible
within the next day or two. Prepare now!
WINTER STORM WARNING:
Severe winter conditions have begun or are about to begin in your area.
BLIZZARD WARNING: Snow
and strong winds will combine to produce a blinding snow, near zero
visibility, deep drifts, and life-threatening wind chill. Seek refuge
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.
FROST/FREEZE WARNING: Below freezing temperatures are expected and
may cause significant damage to plants, crops or fruit trees. In areas
unaccustomed to freezing temperatures, people who have homes without heat
need to take added precautions.
BE PREPARED. Before the
Storm strikes, at home and at work...
Primary concerns are the potential loss of heat, power, telephone
service, and a shortage of supplies if storm conditions continue for more
than a day.
- Flashlight and extra batteries.
- Battery-powered NOAA Weather Radio and portable radio to receive
emergency information. These may be your only links to the outside.
- Extra food and water. High energy food, such as dried fruit or
candy, and food requiring no cooking or refrigeration is best.
- Extra medicine and baby items.
- First-aid supplies.
- Heating fuel. Fuel carriers may not reach you for days after a
severe winter storm.
- Emergency heating source, such as a fireplace, wood stove, space
- Learn to use properly to prevent a fire.
- Have proper ventilation.
- Fire extinguisher and smoke detector.
- Test units regularly to ensure they are working properly.
ON THE FARM:
- Move animals to sheltered areas.
- Shelter belts, properly laid out and oriented, are better protection
for cattle than confining shelters, such as sheds.
- Haul extra feed to nearby feeding areas.
- Have a water supply available. Most animal deaths in winter storms
are from dehydration.
IN CARS AND TRUCKS:
Plan your travel and check the latest weather reports to avoid the
DRESS TO FIT THE SEASON.
Wear loose…fitting, light-weight, warm clothing in several layers.
Trapped air insulates. Layers can be removed to avoid perspiration and
subsequent chill. Outer garments should be tightly woven, water repellent,
and hooded. Wear a hat. Half your body heat loss can be from the head.
Cover your mouth to protect your Iungs from extreme cold. Mittens, snug at
the wrist, are better than gloves. Try to stay dry.
- Fully check and winterize your vehicle before the winter season
- Carry a WINTER STORM SURVIVAL KIT:
- Blankets/sleeping bags; flashlight with extra batteries;
first-aid kit; knife; high-calorie, non-perishable food; extra
clothing to keep dry; a large empty can and plastic cover with
tissues and paper towels for sanitary purposes; a smaller can and
water-proof matches to melt snow for drinking water; sack of sand
(or cat litter); shovel; windshield scraper and brush; tool kit;
tow rope; booster cables; water container; compass and road maps.
- Keep your gas tank near full to avoid ice in the tank and fuel
- Try not to travel alone.
- Let someone know your timetable and primary and alternate