WINTER WEATHER CENTER


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This is our Winter Weather 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. So feel free to browse around, and explore what we have to offer you!

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. Similar 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!

(1.. PRE-SEASON ACTIONS)...

The following items should be addressed before the winter season officially gets underway. It's always better to be one step ahead and safe during the winter season.
Be sure you have your vehicle checked and winterized. Always try to maintain a winter storm kit for your vehicle, and 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, it always better to error on the side of prevention and safety.

(2.. IN SEASON ACTIONS)...

Use common sense and good judgement when doing any activity during the winter season. Do not under estimate a major winter storm!
  • 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.
  • Winter Storm Forecast Terminology

    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. 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.


    CURRENT FORECAST INFORMATION AT A GLANCE

    ...THERE ARE NO ACTIVE WINTER STORMS AT THIS TIME...

    Note: Mouse over tabs for the other graphics.
        STORM POSITION       |       EXPECTED HAZARDS        |       INTENSITY FORECAST       |        FORECAST TRACK

    Index to other pages

    To obtain more specific forecast information, we have created the table below which contains links to other pages where you can find out more information concerning a potential winter storm, or one which is in progress across the coverage region. Just click on the desired link to be directed to that page.

    Forecast Products Product ID Description
    WINTER STORM OUTLOOK (WS0) This product is essentially a forecast on a day by day basis out to seven (7) days ahead on any potential for a major or significant winter storm development somewhere over the CONUS. The outlook will contain more detail as the event draws closer.
    SNOW AND ICE PROGS (SIP) These are snow and ice prog charts which will highlight the specific precipitation amounts plotted on charts.
    WPC STORM SUMMARY (QPFHSD) A detailed discussion regarding the current storm from the folks at the Weather Prediction Center.
    WINTER PRECIPITATION TYPES (WPTX) Learn about what type of winter precipitation may be in your forecast.
    WINTER WEATHER STATISTICS (WWSI) A comprehensive page filled with winter storm, snow, and other winter statistics.
    SPECIAL WINTER STORM STATEMENT (SPWS) This product will highlight any potential for a major or significant winter storm development across the CONUS out to at least five (5) days ahead. If a storm begins developing, this product will highlight what is occurring and then expected to occur. After that point, advisories will take over with further details.
    STATE WINTER ROAD CONDITIONS (RCRW) A listing of the latest winter road and highway conditions across the badger state. For a graphical depiction of our coverage region, use this link.
    Advisory Products Product ID Description
    LATEST STORM ADVISORY (WSAB) This is the latest winter storm advisory from our office. All the latest information is included in this product, which also includes any significant "danger" information.
    LATEST FORECAST ADVISORY (AVIATION) (WSAA) The latest forecast advisory information for pilots and Aviation interests.
    WINTER STORM DISCUSSION (WSDX) A detailed technical discussion regarding the current storm from our office.
    WINTER STORM "UPDATES" (WSUX) Updates on the current storm. This information will be used in upcoming advisories.
    LATEST WINTER HEADLINES (WWAX) The current winter weather watches, warnings, and/or advisories posted by the NWS.

    PLEASE NOTE:

  • When a depression forms, advisories will be initiated when it becomes clear enough a storm will develop out of that (usually within 6-8 hours). Whenever such advisories and discussions initiate, we suggest clicking on the appropriate link(s) in the table above for more information.

  • All related chart graphics are updated every six (6) hours, and more frequently as necessay. Winter road and highway conditions can be obtained from the table above. Links to road conditions for surrounding states have been removed.

  • Advisories for any pre season or post season winter storms will not generally be issued, unless it is determined the system will pose a significant and widespread threat to life and society at large.

  • WARNING! The contents of this and related winter weather pages is (c) copyrighted material. It may not be copied, duplicated, transcribed in any manner either mechanically or electronically, without exclusive written permission from our staff. Violators will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

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