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Plan & Prepare

Winter Weather Terms

Watches:

A watch means that conditions are right for dangerous weather in your area.

  • When a Watch is issued:
  • Winter Storm Watch: Indicates the potential for severe life-threatening winter weather conditions including heavy snow, heavy ice or near-blizzard conditions.
  • Blizzard Watch: Indicates the potential for blizzard conditions.
  • Wind Chill Watch: Indicates the potential of wind chills of -25F or less, which can cause rapid frostbite and increase the risk of hypothermia.

Warnings:

  • When a Warning is issued:
    • Stay indoors during the storm.
    • If you must go outside wear several layers of lightweight clothing, including gloves, a hat and a scarf to cover your mouth and protect your lungs.
    • Know the hazards of wind chill.
    • Walk carefully on snowy, icy sidewalks.
    • After the storm if you shovel snow, be sure to take frequent breaks. Cold weather puts an additional strain on the heart.
  • Winter Storm Warning: A combination of snow, ice and/or other winter conditions is expected to cause life-threatening public impact.
  • Heavy Snow Warning: Seven inches of more or snow is expected in 12 hours or less, or 9 inches or more is expected in 24 hours or less.
  • Ice Storm Warning: A half-inch or more of ice accumulation is expected, which can damage power lines and trees.
  • Blizzard Warning: Blizzard Conditions are imminent or expected in the next 12 to 24 hours. A Blizzard is a severe snow event including 1/4 mile or less visibility for three hours or more, falling or blowing snow, and winds over 35 mph.
  • Wind Chill Warning: Wind chill is expected to be -25F or less. Frostbite can occur in less than 10 minutes.

Warnings & Advisories:

A warning means that dangerous weather is occurring in your area.

  • When a Warning is issued:
    • Stay indoors during the storm.
    • If you must go outside wear several layers of lightweight clothing, including gloves, a hat and a scarf to cover your mouth and protect your lungs.
    • Know the hazards of wind chill.
    • Walk carefully on snowy, icy sidewalks.
    • After the storm if you shovel snow, be sure to take frequent breaks. Cold weather puts an additional strain on the heart.
    • Continue to monitor local and social media for information about weather conditions.
  • Winter Storm Warning: A combination of snow, ice and/or other winter conditions is expected to cause life-threatening public impact.
  • Heavy Snow Warning: Seven inches of more or snow is expected in 12 hours or less, or 9 inches or more is expected in 24 hours or less.
  • Ice Storm Warning: A half-inch or more of ice accumulation is expected, which can damage power lines and trees.
  • Blizzard Warning: Blizzard Conditions are imminent or expected in the next 12 to 24 hours. A Blizzard is a severe snow event including 1/4 mile or less visibility for three hours or more, falling or blowing snow, and winds over 35 mph.
  • Wind Chill Warning: Frostbite can occur in less than 10 minutes.Wind chill is expected to be -25F or less.

Advisories are more than a watch but less than a warning; the expected weather condition has a relatively good chance of occurring.

  • Winter Weather Advisory: Indicates a hazardous combination of snow and ice that is not expected to reach warning criteria. Winter weather can cause significant inconvenience, or can be life-threatening if proper precautions are not taken.
  • Snow Advisory: Four to six inches of snow are expected in 12 hours or less.
  • Freezing Rain Advisory: An accumulation of freezing rain may make roads slippery.
  • Snow and Blowing Snow Advisory: Sustained wind or frequent gusts of 25 to 34 mph accompanied by falling and blowing snow, occasionally reducing visibility to 1/4 mile or less for three hours or more.
  • Blowing Snow Advisory: Widespread or localized blowing snow reducing visibility to 1/4 mile or less with winds less than 35 mph.
  • Wind Chill Advisory: Indicates wind chills of -15F to .24F. Frostbite can occur in less than 30 minutes

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New Jersey Office of Emergency Management
P. O. Box 7068
Trenton, NJ 08628

 

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