How to stay prepared for the upcoming winter season

Weather

It is winter weather awareness week for Missouri. Throughout the week, I will be touching on different winter weather topics. Today is the different types of precipitation. The difference between receiving snow, rain, sleet, or freezing rain is the temperature within the column. The column must be below 32 degrees to receive snow. If the column of air is above 32 degrees higher in the atmosphere, then drops at/below 32 degrees before hitting the ground sleet occurs. When the column of air is above 32 degrees but at the surface temperatures are at/below freezing, the water freezes on impact, which results in freezing rain. Rain occurs when the entire column is above 32 degrees from the cloud to the ground.

Watches, warnings, and advisories are used when there is a risk of hazardous winter weather in the forecast or occurring. A Watch is issued when there is a strong possibility that hazardous winter weather will transpire in 12 to 48 hours of the forecast. An upgrade to a warning is a strong possibility once the criteria are met. A warning is issued when the event is happening, coming, or has a high likelihood of occurring. An Advisory is issued when an event is occurring, imminent, or has a good probability of occurring; however, this is is used when the event is lesser while presenting an inconvenience but doesn’t pose an immediate threat of death, injury, or significant property damage.

Blizzard Warnings are issued when sustained winds or frequent gusts greater than or equal to 35 mph accompanied by falling and/or blowing snow and frequently reduced visibility less than a quarter of a mile for three hours or more.

Ice Storm Warning is issued when ice accumulation of 1/4 inch or more.

Winter Storm Warning is issued for 6 inches or more, sleet accumulations of 1/2 inch or more, or a combination of winter precipitation which will create life-threatening conditions, but for parts of Southern Missouri, the criteria is 4 inches of snow or more.

Wind Chill Warning is put out when the wind chill temperature is minus 25 degrees Fahrenheit or colder.

Winter Weather Advisory is used for lesser snowfall amounts depending on the timing of the snow and the temperatures; an advisory could be issued for snowfall between 1 and 5 inches, sleet accumulations of less than 1/2 inch, or a combination of winter precipitation which will produce hazardous conditions.

Freezing Rain Advisory occurs when light freezing rain produces ice accumulation less than 1/4 inch.
Wind Chill Advisory is used when wind chill values of minus 15 to minus 24 degrees Fahrenheit.

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