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Blog / Different Types of Winter Weather Alerts
Dec 2, 2021
When it comes to emergency preparedness, there is no season in which you can take it easy. Winter is coming...again! As part of helping you prepare, BodyGuardz wants to share important information about the different types of winter weather alerts. When it comes to winter storm preparedness, knowing truly is half the battle.
There are three different levels of winter weather alerts as determined by the National Weather Service. Many people already know the difference between a watch and a warning, but will you know and remember what it means when an advisory is issued? Don’t wait until it happens; now is the time to review.
• Winter Storm Watch: This type of storm watch can be defined as a situation in which conditions are ripe to produce a winter storm within the next 12-48 hours. It can also be defined as a model forecast in which there’s a greater than 50% chance of a winter storm. Sometimes, a winter storm watch is issued and no inclement weather occurs. Sometimes, an unpredictable storm occurs without a watch being issued.
• Winter Storm Advisory: An advisory is similar to a watch, but in this case, the storm has a slightly greater chance of occurring and is expected within 12-24 hours. The other difference is that an advisory isn’t as serious as a winter storm warning. An advisory indicates weather that is likely to cause disruptions but is rarely life-threatening. Nevertheless, a winter storm advisory should be taken seriously and closely monitored as it can be upgraded to a warning if conditions change.
• Winter Storm Warning: Winter storm warnings are issued when a storm is imminent. Significant snow, ice, and wind has the potential to down trees and powerlines, otherwise creating life-threatening conditions. Still, winter storms are notoriously difficult to predict, especially snowfall accumulation. Due to a storm’s destructive potential, a warning may be issued even when the most common scenario predicts only 2 inches of accumulation. Always take note and prepare accordingly when a winter storm warning is issued.
While the general differences between winter weather alerts are usually the same across the country, exactly which type of alert is issued and when can differ from one locale to the next, based on a community’s infrastructure and general preparedness. Three inches of snow can be laughed off in cold-weather climates, while three inches of snow in warm-weather climates may create life-threatening conditions.
That’s why it’s important you’re connected to a local winter weather alert system. The BodyGuardz Portable 5-in-1 Emergency Hub connects to the emergency alert systems for your specific zip code, or other zip codes you would like to monitor remotely.
Of the 28 types of alerts tracked by the BodyGuardz Smart Life App, there are 5 different types of winter storm alert warnings. You can also review the various types of winter weather listed by the NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory.
• Ice Storm Warning: Ice and freezing rain can be hard to predict, and if you’re driving, it can even be hard to see when it’s right in front of you. These storms can cause huge pileups on the highway and/or long periods of widespread power outages. Any chance of an ice storm needs to be taken seriously. You may have a day or more, let alone mere hours, to prepare.
• Snow Squall Warning: These alerts let you know when a period of intense, heavy snowfall is imminent. Snow squalls have the ability to overwhelm snow removal even in the most prepared towns and cities. This type of winter weather alert lets you know you may need to delay plans and hunker down for a couple hours or more. This is the type of storm where if you’re not prepared, you could go into a movie without a single snowflake on the ground and come out not being able to get your car out of the parking lot.
• Blizzard Warning: These events signal the potential for high winds and loosely fallen snow, creating white-out conditions with little-to-no visibility. Being on the road can be deadly, but even being outside and unprepared can be life-threatening. This is no time for false bravado. A blizzard can be a truly terrifying experience. Take these alerts seriously and shelter-in-place.
•  Snowfall Warning: This winter weather alert is used primarily when total snow accumulation may create an emergency situation. A large winter storm doesn’t have to squall to dump a lot of snow over a 24-48 hour period. Storms of this magnitude can leave you snowed in for many days. These slow-moving disasters may require prompt action, especially if you don’t already have a preparedness kit and basic provisions with you when the storm rolls through.
• Winter Storm Warning: This is a catch-all winter weather alert for a storm that may bring some combination of heavy snowfall, significant ice or sleet, high winds, and freezing temperatures. Details about the nature of a winter storm warning are typically included as part of the alert. You may need to leave work a little early, or you may need to prepare to hunker down for several days.
The beginning of winter is the obvious time to start preparing for the season. Many people will wait until a storm is imminent and then run to the grocery store for weeklong provisions. To be truly prepared, you need an emergency kit with items you can’t always find at the local grocery store. For example, with an extended power outage, you need a power generator and/or food provisions that don’t rely on a refrigerator and oven range.
No matter your style for winter storm preparedness, the 5-in-1 Emergency Hub is an amazing resource. This emergency multi-tool offers emergency alert notifications, power bank, flashlight/night light, FM radio, and a personal alarm siren connected to your emergency contact list. Order yours today for a major head start on your year-round emergency preparedness.
About the Author:
Over 15 years, Marcus Pickett has written and edited thousands of articles in numerous industries including phone accessories, smart home, home security, outdoor, travel, healthcare, and many more. He’s a voracious reader and researcher who loves talking to the experts. He currently lives in Salt Lake City, UT.