Winter weather warning terms explained

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Winter storms can throw a whole variety of hazardous conditions at us and unlike severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings, these alerts are regionalized.

Let’s face it: an inch of snow in Atlanta is a disaster, while in Buffalo it’s sneezed at.

Winter Storm Watches are issued 36 to 48 hours ahead of a possible winter storm that is expected to bring a quarter of an inch or more of freezing rain or 4 inches of snow into the area.

A Winter Weather Advisory is issued when you are expecting ANY freezing rain that is going to accumulate on roads and sidewalks and snow that accumulates to an average of 1 to 2 inches.

When only one type of wintry precipitation is expected you will get a Snow Advisory for 1 to 2 inches or snow or a Freezing Rain Advisory for any accumulation of ice.

Winter Storm Warnings are issued when you are expecting either a quarter of an inch of ice accumulation or 4 inches snow in 12 hours or 5 inches snow in 24 hours.

Again, if it is only one type of precipitation that is expected, the warnings can be changed to a Heavy Snow Warning or an Ice Storm Warning. We’ve had a enough experiences with ice storms here to know we don’t want that one.

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