What’s The Difference Between A Winter Advisory, Watch And Warning?
Here comes the snow, and here's a little reminder of what each of these weather alerts mean.
Winter Weather Alerts All Mean Snow Is Coming, But How Much?
The National Weather Service issues three different types of warnings during the winter: advisories, watches and warnings. Here's what they mean.
Winter Weather Advisory
When the Weather Service issues an advisory for a specific area, it means the forecast is calling for winter precipitation of some kind, freezing drizzle, freezing rain or snow, but conditions are not going to be bad enough to issue a warning. It means travel conditions will be challenging, but not difficult.
Think of it this way: an advisory is saying that, hey, it's winter, stuff is coming, but you know how to deal with it. BE AWARE.
These are issued around 36 hours prior to a winter weather event, and are usually the first to be issued.
Winter Storm Watch
This ups the ante a bit, as now the Weather Service is saying a winter storm is eminent, but when or if it will hit is still undetermined. It means conditions are favorable for heavy sleet, freezing rain and/or snow. These are also issued 36 hours before the precipitation hits, to give people time to prepare, in case it does impact their area.
In short, a storm has formed, and is on the way, but may or may not hit your area, but be ready in case it does. BE PREPARED.
Winter Storm Warning
This is basically the Weather Service saying the storm WILL hit a specific are in the next 24 hours. If you hear this, you know it's not iffy any more, that it IS coming and you need to know roads and travel will be impacted.
These means hazardous conditions are certain, and at this point, local governments may also warn residents to avoid travel altogether, or be prepared for slower than normal conditions.
The short version of the warning is the storm IS going to happen and you will need to make necessary. This probably means a run on milk and bread at Meijer. TAKE ACTION.
Who am I kidding? There will be no milk or bread left.
Lake Effect Snow Makes West Michigan Weather Calls Tougher
Lake effect snow, or snow that is prompted by cold winds travelling over a warmer Lake Michigan are much more difficult to predict, because a slight wind shift or increase in wind speed can change everything.
We've all seen snow depths in West Michigan vary by inches and even feet over the span of just a few miles.
That's what is causing the forecasts for West Michigan over the next few days to vary depending a what weather service you use. The National Weather Service has yet to commit to a total snowfall between today and Sunday, whiel some apps are calling for as much as two feet.
Welcome to winter in West Michigan! The good news is, you won't have to do yardwork until April.
November 2014 Set A Record For Snow Fall