Welcome to the Winter Storm Information Center

This is our Winter Weather Information Center page, where you can obtain all the current and forecast winter storm information. Unlike the warm season severe thunderstorms and tornado forecasting we specialize in, the tasks for winter storm prediction can often be quite challenging and hectic for those of us tasked with this duty. To that end, we have a small group of skilled and seasoned forecasters who handle this kind of work. They comb through many pieces of data, charts, and computer output data to determine where and when a major winter storm may develop, and then track it's future path. They do their utmost best to provide you with all the current and forecast information when you need it most. We hope that you will enjoy the new look and feel of the webpage.

Winter Weather Facts You Should Know!

Each winter season, significant and major winter storms form over the southern or central plains, then move northeast effecting multiple states with severe winds and heavy snow, sleet, or freezing rain. Sometimes, these storms can become quite intense and produce blizzards from the central plains into the upper Mississippi Valley and Great Lakes region. Similarly, winter storms often form over the deep southern states, then move up along the east coast producing severe winter weather conditions. But, it's not just us humans that are affected by such storms either. Wild animals, domestic pets, and cattle all can suffer too. So, are you ready to go through another potentially harsh winter? Do you know what to do if a major winter storm was brewing, and headed your way? Fear not, because that's what we created the following section for. It contains the vital information and facts you should know during the winter months, and especially when winter storms threaten. We urge you to study and review them so you can be ready to take on old man winter!

Pre-Season Actions! The following should be addressed before the snow flies:

Be sure you have your vehicle checked and winterized. Always try to maintain a winter storm kit for your vehicle, and have a full tank of gas.
Be sure the furnace in your home is checked and in good working condition. This includes checking the filter, and replacing it as necessary. This will prevent possible problems from occurring.
If you will heat your home with fuel oil or even wood, this is the time to inspect and clean your chimney of soot and/or other debris. Many winter home fires have been caused by uncleaned chimneys.
If you have extra rooms that you won't use during the winter, shut off the heat to those areas and keep the doors closed. This will save on your heating bill.
Now is the best time to get stocked up with items you will certainly need, such as extra candles or flash lights, batteries, non-parishable food, blankets, and so on. Keep these items handy and easy to find.
Remember, plan ahead! Be ready for the snow and cold!

In Season Actions!

When ventering outdoors, make sure to dress appropriately for the weather. Wear several layers of loose fitting garments, a cap or hat for your head, and mittens rather then gloves for your hands. Gloves tend to compact your fingers against each other, causing restricted movement of your hands.
It's a good idea not to do any travel if a winter storm is bearing down on your location, even for short distances. Roads and highways will rapidly worsen once the heavier snow begins, and could become blocked or impassable in only a few hours! Still, if you must travel, please use extreme caution and let someone know the route you plan to take. If you become stranded, stay with your vehicle! Hang a bright colored cloth to your radio antenna so road crews can easily locate you.
When shoveling snow, don't overexert yourself. Overexertion can lead to heart attack, even for those in good health! People with poor health should avoid doing any shoveling of snow.
Bitterly cold Arctic air often plagues our region during the winter months just as intense heat waves of summer do. During these cold snaps, stay indoors. If you need to be outdoors, make sure you bundle up, and protect all exposed skin surfaces. Wear a scarf around your face to protect the very cold air from getting into your lungs.

 

Know the terms used in winter storm events!

During the Autumn and just prior to the official winter season, it's always a great idea to refresh our memories on the "winter storm terminology" used by the National Weather Service to alert the public of potentially hazardous and even life-threatening conditions which could develop. By going over the information shown in the table below, you will know the specific terms used, what they all mean, and most importantly, what you should do in each instance. The National Weather Service has recently made some changes to some of these products, but most of them remain pretty much the same. Remember, every case is different, so the actions you take will be critical to your survival during a particular event.

TERM WHAT IT MEANS WHAT YOU SHOULD DO
WINTER STORM OUTLOOK This is basically a forecast for the potential of a significant or major winter storm over your area. These outlooks cover up to 7 days ahead. You should only use this product as "guidance" for your daily plans. No action is needed by the public.
WINTER STORM WATCH A significant or major winter storm is developing, and could impact your area within 24 hours or less, though this is not a certainty. This is the time to make preperations for the storm by stocking up on any needed supplies, such as food or fuel for heat. If you have any travel plans, you should consider either leaving now for your destination, or holding off until the storm has passed. In any event, closely monitor the latest weather information.
WINTER STORM WARNING A significant or major winter storm is imminent, or now occurring in your area. Any last minute dashes to the store for supplies should be rushed to completion, since road conditions will quickly deteriorate once the heavier snow begins. Otherwise, don't travel, even for short distances. Stay indoors and don't venture outdoors unless it's necessary. Keep informed about the storm.
BLIZZARD WATCH A major and potentially life-threatening winter storm is developing, and could impact your area within 24-36 hours or less, but this is far from certain. Obtain any and all needed supplies now to last out the storm. Stock up on non perishable food, fuel for heat, and candles or flash lights and extra batteries. Blizzards can last for days, so plan accordingly and stay informed of the latest weather information. If you must travel, leave now for your destination.
BLIZZARD WARNING A major and potentially life-threatening winter storm is imminent, or now occurring in your area. Stay indoors and avoid all travel, even for short distances. Do not venture outdoors, again, even for short distances. You can become lost or disorientated very quickly in a blizzard. Keep up with the latest weather information, and have candles or flash lights handy in case of possible power failure.
ICE STORM WARNING A significant ice storm event is imminent, or now occuring in your area. Ice accumulation of 1/4" or greater is likely, which will coat all exposed surfaces, such as roads, highways, sidewalks, etc. THIS IS A VERY DANGEROUS SITUATION! All travel should be avoided. The slippery roads will likely cause serious accidents. Do not venture outdoors on foot! You will likely loose your balance on the slippery surface, causing you to fall down, and injure yourself. It's wise to remain indoors, and stay current with the latest weather information. Be prepared for probable power failure, and have a backup at the ready.
WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY A less serious winter event is expected, which is not likely to result in significant travel problems provided the proper driving skills are used. Travel with caution and remain alert. Use good judgement and allow plenty of room between you and the vehicle ahead of you. Drive at reduced speeds. Advisories can be issued for dense fog, snow, blowing snow, and freezing rain or drizzle.

WINTER STORM FORECAST PRODUCTS

We prepare and issue a suite of outlook and forecast products solely for winter storms, so that you can keep AHEAD of the storm. These products are shown below. To view a product, click the link associated with it.
Winter Storm Outlook Snow & Ice Progs Model Guidance Learn about winter precipitation types

Our winter storm advisory products are issued once it appears that a significant storm is organizing and headed for the coverage region. These products are generally issued every eight (8) hours, but are updated every four (4) hours once the storm is within our coverage region. Only systems which are capable of four or more inches will generate advisories.

ADVISORY PRODUCTS

Public Advisory (Complete issuance)Text
Storm Name:
Location:
Winds:
Pressure:
Movement:
Public Advisory (Intermediate issuance) Text
Storm Name: --
Location:
Winds:
Pressure:
Movement:
Forecast Advisory (Aviation) Text
Storm Name:
Location:
Movement:
Pressure (MB):
Advisory Discussion (Technical)Text
Issuance Time: 700 am CDT

Here's some links to additional information...

Special Winter Storm Potential Statement Text
Winter Weather facts and statistics Text
Wisconsin Road Condition Report Website
Winter Weather Headlines Text & Graphics

Weather Underground PWS KWISTEVE32


 

VERY IMPORTANT! Midwest Weather Service is a small private establishment created for the sole purpose of severe local storm prediction and forecast services for our clinets. We are in no way affiliated with, or have any ties with NOAA, it's National Weather Service, or Storm Prediction Center. Our products are released for the coverage region we serve, and originate from, and are disseminated by our Storm Center.

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