Storm Center

Winter Weather Center

Winter Weather Terms

Familiarize yourself with the following terms to stay alert and be prepared for winter weather.

  • Frost/Freeze Warning: Below freezing temperatures are expected.
  • Winter Weather Advisory: Cold, snow and ice are expected.
  • Winter Storm Watch: A winter storm is possible. Tune in to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio or television for more information.
  • Winter Storm Warning: A winter storm is occurring or will soon occur.
  • Sleet: Rain that turns to ice pellets before reaching the ground. Sleet usually bounces when contacting a surface and does not stick to objects. Accumulation can cause road conditions to become hazardous, so beware.
  • Freezing Rain: Rain that freezes and creates a coating of ice on most any surface. With accumulations of several centimeters, roads and walkways can be dangerously slick, while trees and power lines cannot withstand the heavy weight of the ice.
  • Snow Flurries: Flurries are defined as light snow falling for short durations with little to no accumulation. The most accumulation that can be expected is a light snow dusting.
  • Snow Showers: Snow that falls at varying intensities for brief periods of time. Some accumulation is possible, but not guaranteed.
  • Blizzard Warning: Sustained winds or frequent gusts to 35 miles per hour or more and considerable amounts of falling or blowing snow (reducing visibility to less than a quarter mile) are expected to prevail for a period of three or more hours.