FIRST ALERT WEATHER SPECIAL: Watches, warnings, blizzards and squalls

By  | 

(WBAY) - It looks like winter is early this year, so it's probably a good time to refresh our knowledge about winter weather advisories, watches and warning -- and also tell you about a new warning you might not have heard yet but likely will this winter. Let's begin with...

WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY

Winter weather advisories are issued for a variety of inconvenient wintry weather, like snowfalls of a couple of inches; a slippery, wintry mix; or light, freezing rain; and sometimes just for blowing and drifting snow.

WINTER STORM WARNING

A winter storm warning is issued for more significant winter weather events, like an ice storm with major icing or snow event that will bring 6 or more inches of snow, or a combination of snow and wind with blowing and drifting.

WINTER STORM WATCH

A winter storm watch may be issued days prior to a winter storm warning. As with any watch, it means the threat isn't imminent but it is a possiblity so keep informed.

BLIZZARD WARNING

Occasionally, blizzard warnings are issued here in Northeast Wisconsin. They're issued when snow and wind create treacherous travel and near whiteout conditions.

SNOW SQUALL WARNING

You might not have heard of the snow squall warning yet. A snow squall is an intense burst of snow usually only lasting 30 to 60 minutes, but the intensity of the snow combined with blustery winds can create poor visibility and slippery roads. Snow squall warnings are usually issued for a small area, like a county or two. Despite their short nature, they should not be taken lightly.