Wisconsin Winter Weather Awareness Week: Differences between Watch, Warning and Advisory

It's Winter Weather Awareness Week in Wisconsin, which means it's a good time to go over what winter weather terminology means and how the weather behind it could affect you. 

There are three terms that cover nearly every winter system that comes into southern Wisconsin: Winter Weather Advisory, Winter Storm Watch and Winter Storm Warning. 

  1. If a Winter Weather Advisory is issued, that means hazardous roads are a possibility due to either 3-6 inches of snow or sleet accumulation, or a light coating of ice.
  2. A Winter Storm Watch means either 6 inches or more of snowfall is on the way or ¼" or ice or both, and a Winter Storm Warning is likely to be issued.
  3. Lastly, a Winter Storm Warning means that 6 inches or more of snow or ¼" of ice accumulation is likely within 12 hours, and to expect hazardous travel conditions.

Although these terms cover the majority of winter systems that move through Wisconsin, there are a few other terms that cover more severe winter storms.

  • Blizzard Warning means heavy snow and blowing snow is either occurring or going to occur within 12 hours. Visibility is less than ¼ of a mile for at least 3 hours during a Blizzard Warning, making for extremely dangerous travel conditions.
  • Ice Storm Warning means to expect more than ¼" of ice accumulation. This is likely to cause damage to trees and powerlines, as well as extremely dangerous travel conditions.

As we head into the winter season, it's important to stay up to date with the latest forecast from the FOX6 Weather Experts by downloading the FOX6 Storm Center App and tuning into the forecast on-air and online.

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