How different types of alerts are issued for winter weather

(Photo: WKRN)

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – It won’t be too long until winter weather wins out with very cold air and even snow.

If a snow or ice storm approach Middle Tennessee and Southern Kentucky, the National Weather Service will different type of alerts, depending on the overall impact.

Alerts include a Winter Weather Advisory, Winter Storm Watch, and Winter Storm Warning.

For winter weather events that will have an impact, but not considered a major storm, Winter Weather Advisories would be issued for specific counties.

According to the local National Weather Service, this would be an event that brings one to three inches of snow in three hours or three to five inches of snow in 24 hours. Additionally, any freezing rain accumulation or sleet amounting to 1/2 inch or less.

However, if a significant storm approaches, Winter Storm Watches are issued typically one to two days ahead of the onset of precipitation as a heads up.

Closer to the event, a watch would be upgraded to a Winter Storm Warning. These are for areas expecting more than three inches of snow in three hours or more than five inches in 24 hours.

Additionally, freezing rain accumulations more than 1/4 of an inch as well as more than 1/2 inch of sleet.

As with many winter storms, the wind can make it more treacherous, especially throwing snow around reducing the visibility.

For the strongest of all winter storms, a Blizzard Warning would go into effect. This is for a storm that generates sustained winds of 35 mph or consistent gusts to 50 mph for three consecutive hours.

Furthermore, the wind would reduce the visibility down to 1/4 mile or less by blowing around snow.

Keep in mind, snow amounts are not within the criteria for a blizzard. You could have a two to three inch snow and still qualify for a blizzard as long as the wind and visibility benchmarks are met.

Click here for more “Winter Weather Awareness Day” stories.