We had a little bit of an early weather scare this past weekend.  We were told anywhere between three to five inches of snow were coming!  Luckily, we here in Pettis County only had a light dusting, but other places in the state weren't so lucky. Winter storms, especially snowstorms, can be very dangerous. Preparing before extremely cold, snowy weather occurs can save your life. Become familiar and know what winter storm advisories, watches and warnings mean. Stay informed by listening to us on local radio.   We are always hooked in to the National Weather Service for the latest.  Let’s become familiar with the National Weather Service (NWS) terms that are frequently used in winter weather forecasts. If you are in the alerted area, check with us for the latest advisories. Knowing these key weather terms enables you to take the necessary precautionary measures during winter weather forecasts.

So, let's go over some of those terms from the NWS and I'll explain what they mean.

Winter Storm Outlook— This is issued prior to an official Winter Storm Watch. The Outlook is given when forecasters believe winter storm conditions are possible. This prediction is usually issued 3 to 5 days in advance of a winter storm.

Wind Chill Advisory—Issued for wind chills of 25 to 39 below zero with a wind speed of 5 mph.

Winter Weather Advisory—Issued when 4 to 6 inches of snow is expected in a 24 hour period.

Freezing Rain/Drizzle Advisory—Issued when an accumulation of up to 1/4 inch is expected.

Winter Storm Watch—Alerts the public to the possibility of heavy snow, a blizzard heavy freezing rain, or heavy sleet. Watches are usually issued 12 to 36 hours before the beginning of a storm.

Now, a watch is different than a warning.  A watch just means that the conditions are right for this certain type of weather.  A warning is more serious.  I'll explain the warnings, too.

Ice Storm Warning—Heavy ice accumulations (1/4 inch thick or more) will cause extremely dangerous and damaging situations, such as extremely icy roads and downed power lines.

Winter Storm Warning—Issued when a combination of heavy snow, heavy freezing rain or heavy sleet is expected to occur. Winter Storm Warnings are usually issued 12 to 24 hours before the event is expected to begin. Heavy snow constitutes 4 inches or more of snow in 12 hours or less, or 6 inches or more in 24 hours.

Blizzard Warning—Issued for sustained or gusty winds of 35 mph or more, with falling or blowing snow reducing visibility to less than 1/4 mile. These conditions should persist for at least 3 hours.

So now that you have some information about the weather, you might also go around and check the house and your vehicles.  Do you have extra batteries, flashlights, blankets, candles, non perishable food?  Did you take your car to get wintered? Is it dependable when the big weather hits? These are all important things to think about because you don't want to get stuck somewhere or caught off guard - and not just you, the whole family, too.  So that's what I'm gonna ask you guys today in our Enquiring Minds survey - have you done any preparations for winter weather? If so, what have you done?  Do you have an emergency kit?   Let me know all about it and we'll talk about your answers on the air.

Winterly yours,
Behka