Know the Difference: Winter Weather Watches, Warnings and Advisories

During the winter months, you will see several different watches, warnings and advisories in weather reports. Do you know what they mean or what the difference is?

Well, here is a breakdown of some of the terminology to help you through the next several months.

A Winter Weather Advisory is issued when 2 to 6 inches of snow is expected and ice accumulation up to a half-inch is possible. This is the most common winter weather alert because it covers most of the weather events. When the National Weather Service issues this you should consider alternate travel plans because you may experience some difficulty with the weather conditions ahead.

A Winter Storm Watch is issued about 24 to 48 hours in advance of a storm that could produce 6 inches of snow or more and a half-inch of ice or more. This is a dangerous scenario that will be monitored and you should be prepared for what you will do or won’t do if and when this storm moves into the area.

A Winter Storm Warning is issued when a storm is moving in that has 6 inches of snow or more and a half-inch of ice or more. This is a potentially life-threatening situation. There is no time to prepare now, but you should stay off the roads and have your house ready for the potential of power outages. 

NBC 5 will always update you on these watches, warnings and advisories throughout the season because weather can change and we want to keep you safe.

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