Winter Weather Alerts

Just in time for winter, the National Weather Service has simplified their Watch, Advisory and Warning system.  Freezing Rain Advisory will now be issued under a Winter Weather Advisory and a Blizzard Watch will now be covered under a Winter Storm Watch.  These changes were made to make things more simple and easier for everyone to understand.   We will always broadcast weather alerts on air and you can get the latest information right here on www.mystar106.com when a winter storm or other winter weather event is expected.

The National Weather Service issues four “tiers” of alerts to inform you of incoming hazardous weather. Please take a moment to review and understand the differences between them.

Outlook:

  • Timing: Up to seven days out
  • Issued when significant winter weather is possible, but not guaranteed–a “heads-up”
  • You Should: Monitor forecasts for additional information
  • Types of Outlooks: Hazardous Weather Outlooks and Weather Story graphic

Watch:

  • Timing: Two to three days before the event
  • Increasing confidence that dangerous winter weather which could threaten life and property will occur
  • You Should: Start taking necessary precautions in case the event happens
  • Types of Watches: Winter Storm and Wind Chill

Warning:

  • Timing: Within 24 to 48 hours of the event
  • High confidence of a winter weather event which could threaten life & property–is the most serious of alerts
  • You Should: Continue and finish preparing for the storm as well as monitor for updated warning statements
  • Types of Warnings: Winter StormBlizzardIce Storm, and Wind Chill

Advisory:

  • Timing: Within 24 to 36 hours of the event
  • Events not expected to pose a significant risk to life & property, but could still impact travel or other activities
  • You Should: Exercise caution when traveling and be prepared for any possible impacts
  • Types of Advisories: Winter Weather and Wind Chill

These are the definitions of each weather alert from the National Weather Service in Des Moines…

Below is a break down the different alerts issued by the National Weather Service in Des Moines

Product What It Means You Should…
Hazardous Weather Outlook Will there be any hazardous winter weather in the next several days? If any hazardous winter weather is expected, check back for later forecasts, information, and possible watches.

Latest Hazardous Weather Outlook

Winter Weather Advisory When any of the following criteria is expected to occur:

1. Snow: Between 3 and 5 inches in 12 hours

2. Sleet: Less than 1/2 inch in the next 24 hours

3. Freezing Rain/Drizzle: Less than 1/4 of an inch

3. Blowing Snow: Visibility occasionally reduced
to 1/4 of a mile due to blowing snow with winds
less than 35 mph.

On the Road: Unplowed/less traveled roads may be slick, so drive with caution. If blowing snow is occurring, drive at a safe speed and leave plenty of space between you and other drivers.

At Home: Make sure you have the proper snow removing equipment to clear your sidewalks and driveways.

Winter Storm
Watch
When any of the following criteria is expected to occur:

1. Snow: At least 6 inches or more in 12 hours or
at least 8 inches in 24 hours

2. Sleet: 1/2 inch or more

3. Freezing Rain: 1/4 inch or more

4. Blizzard: Visibility reduced to 1/4 of a mile or

less due to blowing snow with winds of at least

35 mph for at least 3 hours.

On the Road: Seriously consider postponing any non-essential driving. If you must drive, carry a winter survival kit in your car and be prepared for delays.

At Home: Make sure you have the proper snow removing equipment to clear your sidewalks and driveways. If an exceptionally high amount of snow is forecast, be prepared to remain at home for a day or two.

Winter Storm
Warning
When any of the following criteria is expected to occur:

1. Snow: At least 6 inches or more in 12 hours or
at least 8 inches in 24 hours

2. Sleet: 1/2 inch or more

3. A combination of 1 and/or 2, along with freezing
rain and/or winds of at least 25 mph.

On the Road: Seriously consider postponing any non-essential driving. If you must drive, carry a winter survival kit in your car and be prepared for delays.

At Home: Make sure you have the proper snow removing equipment to clear your sidewalks and driveways. If an exceptionally high amount of snow is forecast, be prepared to remain at home for a day or two.

Blizzard
Warning
A combination of sustained winds or frequent wind gusts of at least 35 mph and visibilities of less than 1/4 of a mile due to snow and/or blowing snow for at least three straight hours. On the Road: Refrain from driving except in emergency situations, especially in open country. Always carry a winter survival kit in your car if you must drive. High winds and white-out conditions will make driving extremely dangerous.

At Home: Be prepared to remain at home for a few days, especially if you live in a rural area. Snow drifts may be higher than 10 feet, so make sure you have the proper snow removing equipment.

Ice Storm Warning A freezing rain event in which ice accumulations are expected to be 1/4 of an inch or more thick. On the Road: Refrain from driving except in emergency situations. Roads will likely be treacherous and maintaining control of your car will be very difficult.

At Home: Be prepared for possible long duration power outages and refrain from walking on ice covered surfaces outside.

Wind Chill Advisory Wind chill values are expected to fall to between -20°F and -29°F with at least a 5 mph wind. On the Road: Pack extra clothes and blankets in addition to your winter survival kit in your car in case you become stranded.

At Home: If you go outdoors, dress accordingly by wearing well-insulated hats and gloves and putting on extra layers of clothing to keep warm. Frostbite could take place in as little as 30 minutes.

Wind Chill Watch/Warning Wind chill values are expected to fall to -30°F or less with at least a 5 mph wind. On the Road: Pack extra clothes and blankets in addition to your winter survival kit in your car in case you get stranded.

At Home: Seriously consider postponing any outdoor plans. Wear well insulated clothing if you must go outdoors. Frostbite could take place in as little as 10 minutes.

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