(WKBN) – Several US states are facing their first chance for snow showers this season.
Before we know it, local National Weather Service offices will begin issuing winter weather advisories, winter storms and winter storm warnings. What do these warnings mean, how are they different and how should you prepare if they are issued?
When a winter weather warning is issued, wintry elements are expected across the area, but conditions are not expected to be severe enough to meet the warning criteria. When an advisory is issued, you should be aware and prepared for difficulties on the road. Winter weather warnings are usually issued within 36 hours of a winter weather event.
When a winter storm is issued, conditions are favorable for a significant winter storm, whether it’s heavy snow, sleet, or ice. Watches are usually issued within 36 hours of a winter weather event to give you time to prepare.
A winter storm warning means that meteorologists are fairly confident that a severe winter storm will occur in the next 24 hours. The storm is likely to produce heavy snow, sleet or freezing rain, causing significant impacts and hazardous travel conditions.
A winter weather advisory is issued by your local National Weather Service office and is based on different criteria depending on your location.
For example, in Cleveland, a winter storm warning is issued when 6 inches or more of snow is expected in a 12-hour period. In Atlanta, the criteria are much lower. The National Weather Service there will issue a winter storm warning if 2 inches of snow is expected in the region.
As of Sunday, the National Weather Service had several active alerts. A Freeze Watch was in place from Oklahoma and Kansas, east through Missouri, Arkansas, Illinois, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania.
Parts of Colorado were under a freeze warning, as was southern Wisconsin. Northern Wisconsin was expecting more severe conditions, with some counties under winter storm warnings.
You can see all warnings and alerts for your region on the page National Weather Service website.