Winter Weather Preparedness Week: Winter hazards
Winter Weather Preparedness Week is Nov. 17 – 23, 2019
Winter storms can be dangerous. Are you weather ready?
You can minimize the impact of severe winter weather by being prepared. Get the latest weather condition and forecast for your entire route before traveling, even if it is a short trip. The best way to get the latest winter weather information directly from the National Weather Service is by listening to NOAA weather radio or by visiting the National Weather Service – Chicago office website. You can also follow them on Facebook by searching National Weather Service Chicago and on Twitter with @NWSChicago.
Winter weather terms
The National Weather Service issues outlooks, watches, warnings, and advisories for hazardous winter weather.
- Winter Storm Warning, Blizzard Warning and Ice Storm Warning: Expected within the next 12 to 36 hours or is occurring. Winter Storm Warning indicates that snow, sleet, or ice is expected. Confidence is high that a winter storm will produce heavy snow, sleet, or freezing rain and cause significant impacts. Do not travel.
- Winter Storm Watch: Expected within the next 48 hours. Snow, sleet or ice is possible. Confidence is medium that a winter storm could produce heavy snow, sleet, or freezing rain and cause significant impacts.
- Winter Weather Advisory: Expected within the next 12 to 36 hours or is occurring. Wintry weather is expected. Light amounts of wintery precipitation or patchy blowing snow will cause slick conditions and could effect travel if precautions are not taken.
Blizzards are the most dangerous winter storms. Blowing and drifting snow can reduce visibility to less than one quarter mile causing you to become disoriented and make travel impossible.
Heavy accumulations of ice can bring down trees and topple utility poles and communication towers. Even small accumulations of ice can be extremely dangerous to motorists and pedestrians.
Long cold spells can cause rivers to freeze. A rise in water level or a thaw breaks the ice into large chunks which become jammed at man-made and natural obstructions. Ice jams can act as a dam, resulting in flooding.