The Difference Between Winter Storm Advisory, Watch, Warning
The Tri-State received its first dose of Winter weather today (Thursday, November 15th), which is a little earlier than we're used too, or prefer. As with any weather system that may cause some issues for residents in its path, meteorologists from the National Weather Service issued a number of advisories, watches, and warnings for the various areas of the Tri-State, but what do they mean, and which one should cause you the most concern.
Let's rephrase that because technically they all present some level of concern. How about "which one requires the most amount of pre-planning?" Let's be honest, when the forecast calls for a drop in the temperature and some form of frozen water falling from the sky, our minds instantly start to think about what we need to do to be prepared. This handy guide from the National Weather Service in Paducah should help with that if you're the plan ahead type.
Just like during the non-Winter months when our weather concerns revolve more around tornadoes (no pun intended), Advisories likely require the least amount of pre-planning while a Warning means "hold on to your butts, it's going to get ugly!" (so to speak).
Here's the exact definition of each courtesy of the National Weather Service:
Winter Weather Advisories are issued when snow, blowing snow, ice, sleet, or a combination of these wintry elements is expected but conditions should not be hazardous enough to meet warning criteria. Be prepared for winter driving conditions and possible travel difficulties. Use caution when driving.
Winter Storm Watches are issued when conditions are favorable for a significant winter storm event (heavy sleet, heavy snow, ice storm, heavy snow and blowing snow or a combination of events.)
Winter Storm Warnings are issued for a significant winter weather event including snow, ice, sleet or blowing snow or a combination of these hazards. Travel will become difficult or impossible in some situations. Delay your travel plans until conditions improve.
There you have it. Keep this handy so the next time we get a weather event like this, and you know we will, you'll know the exact amount of freaking out to do.
[Source: National Weather Service]