Friday, October 31, 2014
     

Kansas Winter Weather Terms

Kansans find a wild variety of severe winter weather. Chances are, far greater that a Kansan will catch the brunt of a winter storm then he would the wrath of a tornado.

The National Weather Service issues numerous watches, warnings and advisories to alert the public of impending severe winter weather, including the following:

  • WINTER STORM OUTLOOK: ISSUED PRIOR TO A WINTER WORM WATCH. Given when forecasters believe winter storm conditions are possible and are usually issued 48 to 60 hours in advance.
  • WATCH: ISSUED TO ALERT THE PUBLIC TO THE POSSIBILTY OF SEVER WINTER WEATHER. Alerts the public to the possibility of a blizzard, heavy snow, freezing rain or heavy sleet. Watches are usually issued 12 to 36 hours before the beginning of a Winter Storm.
  • WARNING: ISSUED TO ALERT THE PUBLIC THAT SEVER WINTER WEATHER IS IMMINENT OR OCCURRING. Issued when a comvinaton of heavy snow, heavy freezing rain, or heavy sleet is expected. Winter Strom Warnings are usually issued 6 to 24 hours before the storm is expected.
  • ADVISORY: ISSUED TO ADVISE THE PUBLIC OF POTENIALLY DANGEROUS WINTER WEATHER THAT DOESN'T MEET THE  REQUIREMENTS  OF A WARNING.
  • SNOW ADVISORY: ISSUED WHEN SNOW ACCUMULATIONS OF 2 TO 5 INCHES ARE POSSIBLE.
  • HEAVY SNOW WARNING: ACCUMULATION OF AT LEAST 6 INCHES IN 12 HOURS AND/OR AT LEAST 8 INCHES IN 24 HOURS.
  • FREEZING RAIN WARNING: ICE ACCUMULATIONS OF AT 1/4 INCH WITH WINDS AT LEAST 15 MPH OR AT LEAST 1/2 INCH WITH LESSER WIND.
  • BLIZZARD WARNING: VISIBILITY FREQUENTLY 1/4 MILE OR LESS REDUCED BY SNOW AND/OR BLOWING SNOW CAUSED BY WINDS OF AT LEAST 35 MPH. Conditions persisting for at least 3 hours.
  • WIND CHILL WARNING: WIND CHILL INDICES COLDER THAN 35 DEGREES BELOW ZERO FOR AT LEAST 3 HOURS.
  • WINTER STORM WARNING: ANY COMBINATION OF THE ABOVE BY-PRODUCTS IS IMMINENT OR OCCURRING.
  • HIGH WIND WARNING: SUSTAINED WINDS AT LEAST 40 MPH FOR AT LEAST 1 HOUR OR AT LEAST 58 MPH FOR ANY DURATION.
  • SNOW ADVISORY: ACCUMULATIONS OF 2 TO 5 INCHES ARE FORECAST.
  • FREEZING RAIN ADVISORY: ICE ACCUMULATIONS THAT CAUSE TRAVEL OR WALKING DIFFICULTIES. NO DAMAGE TO TREES OR POWER LINE EXPECTED.
  • BLOWING SNOW ADVISORY: VISIBILITY OCCASIONALLY REDUCED TO NEAR 1/4 MILE CAUSED BY WINDS OF 25-34 MPH. THE TERM NEAR BLIZZARD IS SOMETIMES USED WITH WINDS OF 30-34 MPH.
  • WIND CHILL ADVISORY: WIND CHILL INDICES OF 25-35 DEGREES BELOW ZERO FOR AT LEAST 3 HOURS.
  • WIND ADVISORY: SUSTAINED WINDS AT LEAST 30 MPH FOR 1 HOUR OR AT LEAST 45 MPH FOR ANY DURATION.
  • DENSE FOG ADVISORY: WIDESPREAD VISIBILITIES OF LESS THAN 1/4 MILE. Dense fog can be very dangerous if it occurs with temperatures near or below freezing. Under these conditions, black ice can form quickly. Black ice forms on bridges and overpasses.
  • SNOW FLURRIES: lLIGHT SNOW FALLING FOR SHORT DURATIONS. NO ACCUMULATION OR LIGHT DUSTING IS ALL THAT IS EXPECTED.
  • SNOW SHOWERS: SNOW FALLING AT VARYING INTENSITIES FOR BRIEF PERIODS OF TIME. SOME ACCUMULATION IS POSSIBLE.
  • BLOWING SNOW: WIND-DRIVEN SNOW THAT REDUCES VISIBILITY AND CAUSES SIGNIFICANT DRIFTING.
  • SLEET: RAIN DROPS THAT FREEZE INTO ICE PELLETS BEFORE REACHING THE GROUND. SLEET USUALLY BOUNCES WHEN HITTING A SURFACE AND DOES NOT STICK TO OBJECTS.
  • FREEZING RAIN: RAIN THAT FALLS ONTO A SURFACE WITH A TEMPERATURE BELOWING FREEZING. THIS CAUSES IT TO FREEZE TO SURFACES SUCH AS TREES, CARS AND ROADS, FORMING A COATING OR GLAZE OF ICE.