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Winter Weather Terms

Winter weather is impacting many areas of the country. It is important to understand the different winter weather terms.

These warnings, watches, and advisories are determined by the National Weather Service and communicated by local radio stations, television channels, and websites such as

Be familiar with the following winter weather related terms:

- Blizzard Warning: Issued for sustained or gusty winds of 35 mph or more, and falling or blowing snow creating visibilities at or below 1/4 mile; these conditions should persist for at least three hours.

- Wind Chill Advisory: Issued when wind chill temperatures are expected to be a significant inconvenience to life with prolonged exposure, and, if caution is not exercised, could lead to hazardous exposure (i.e. frostbite).

- Wind Chill Warning: Issued when wind chill temperatures are expected to be hazardous to life within several minutes of exposure.

- Winter Storm Warning: Issued when hazardous winter weather in the form of heavy snow, blizzard conditions, heavy freezing rain, or heavy sleet is imminent or occurring. Winter Storm Warnings are usually issued 12-24 hours before the event is expected to begin.

- Winter Storm Watch: Alerts the public to the possibility of a blizzard, heavy snow, freezing rain, freezing drizzle, and sleet which will cause significant inconveniences and, if caution is not exercised, could lead to life threatening situations.

Several websites and mobile apps can provide email and text alerts.

For a comprehensive list of websites that provide these types of alerts, please visit

Source: Joe Mlynek is president of Progressive Safety Services LLC, Gates Mills, OH;, and content creation expert for Safety Made Simple Inc., Olathe, KS;

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Safety Tip of the Week is edited by Managing Editor Tucker Scharfenberg and published each Monday by Grain Journal, Decatur, IL

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