Winter weather alerts explained - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Winter weather alerts explained

Posted: Updated:
TOLEDO, Ohio -

We've had plenty of active weather the past few weeks.  Often these storms come accompanied with weather alerts.  These are issued by the National Weather Service (occasionally by the Storm Prediction Center, as well, though they are part of the NWS).

There are numerous types and colors of advisories, watches and warnings.  We'll never see many of these in our area but we wanted to refresh your memory on some of the common winter-time alerts. 

A Winter Weather Advisory comes in a blue-gray color.  This one has a lot of discretion for the forecasters who send it out.  It's often issued for a combination of snow, ice, sleet, freezing rain, etc.  For snow, it's often for prolonged storm events. Generally, it's for storms that bring less than seven inches of snow in a day.  The Advisory is the lowest-ranked of the three.

A Winter Storm Watch is more of a teal blue and gray combination.  The Watch is issued farther in advance, to give people time to prepare for an incoming storm.  For our case, that's why we've seen Watches issue far out before our past two snow events.  This is the medium category and often leads up to a Winter Storm Warning being issued.

The Winter Storm Warning is generally for the potential for seven inches of snow within a 24-hour period.  It's color is hot pink, so it's easily identifiable.  It's the top-end for these alerts and doesn't come all that often to northwest Ohio.  You may be wondering why a Warning was not issued for the last storm when many areas saw 10"+ of snow.  That was a technical decision made because it was a lengthy storm.  Even though 10 inches of snow fell, there wasn't seven inches on a single day.  That storm was spread out over 45 hours, while our weekend storm will mostly fall on Sunday.

As for Blizzard Warnings, that's a VERY specific definition.  Here's a copy of what the Weather Service says:

Issued for winter storms with sustained or frequent winds of 35 mph or higher with considerable falling and/or blowing snow that frequently reduces visibility to 1/4 of a mile or less. These conditions are expected to prevail for a minimum of 3 hours.

  • Storm TeamMore>>

  • 2014 is still dry, but the numbers are catching up

    2014 is still dry, but the numbers are catching up

    Friday, August 22 2014 12:21 PM EDT2014-08-22 16:21:13 GMT
    Rainfall is slightly above normal for August so far.
    Rainfall is slightly above normal for August so far.
  • Water quality improving around Toledo's water intake

    Water quality improving around Toledo's water intake

    Thursday, August 21 2014 7:44 PM EDT2014-08-21 23:44:19 GMT
    Finally the heat, humidity, and summer storms are here, and the new turbulent weather pattern is good news. Thursday's harmful algae levels are dropping near Toledo's water intake for now.
    Finally the heat, humidity, and summer storms are here, and the new turbulent weather pattern is good news. Thursday's harmful algae levels are dropping near Toledo's water intake for now.
  • Severe T-Storm Watch in effect through 6pm

    Severe T-Storm Watch in effect through 6pm

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 6:43 PM EDT2014-08-19 22:43:26 GMT
    Weather Update: Severe t-storm watch in effect for Hillsdale, Lenawee, Monroe, Williams and Fulton Counties until 9pm. VIPIR HD tracking a line of strong to severe storms moving to the east at 30 mph. Most areas should get the heavy weather between 5pm-9pm. Heavy rain, wind gusts over 60 mph and large hail possible this evening. Check out the LIVE radar image at www.13abc.com/weather-Chief Meteorologist Jay Berschback
    Weather Update: Severe t-storm watch in effect for Hillsdale, Lenawee, Monroe, Williams and Fulton Counties until 9pm. VIPIR HD tracking a line of strong to severe storms moving to the east at 30 mph. Most areas should get the heavy weather between 5pm-9pm. Heavy rain, wind gusts over 60 mph and large hail possible this evening. Check out the LIVE radar image at www.13abc.com/weather-Chief Meteorologist Jay Berschback

Weather: Home | Forecast | Radar | Cams

  • Top StoriesMore>>

  • Teenager arrested for murder after 3 month search

    Teenager arrested for murder after 3 month search

    Saturday, August 23 2014 8:47 AM EDT2014-08-23 12:47:10 GMT
    After months without a break, a teenager is in jail, charged with a murder from May. Michael Gaston Junior is behind bars this morning. Toledo police and a swat team took him into custody yesterday. The murder itself happened in the middle of the day on Joffre in Toledo. In June, police charged Gaston with murder in the shooting death of Sheymarr Noble. Three others were wounded in that midday shooting.
    After months without a break, a teenager is in jail, charged with a murder from May. Michael Gaston Junior is behind bars this morning. Toledo police and a swat team took him into custody yesterday. The murder itself happened in the middle of the day on Joffre in Toledo. In June, police charged Gaston with murder in the shooting death of Sheymarr Noble. Three others were wounded in that midday shooting.
  • Motorcycle crash at Dorr and Byrne

    Motorcycle crash at Dorr and Byrne

    Friday, August 22 2014 11:09 PM EDT2014-08-23 03:09:43 GMT
    Police were called to the scene of a motorcycle crash Friday night. It happened at the intersection of Dorr and Byrne just after 10 p.m. Dispatch could only tell us that a car and motorcycle were involved in the crash. We're still waiting on information about injuries.
    Police were called to the scene of a serious motorcycle crash Friday night. It happened at the intersection of Dorr and Byrne just after 10 p.m.
  • 20,000 people expected at Toledo Pride Fest

    20,000 people expected at Toledo Pride Fest

    Friday, August 22 2014 9:49 PM EDT2014-08-23 01:49:06 GMT
    The fifth annual Toledo Pride Festival runs August 22-24. The festival features more than a dozen local and national bands, more than 75 food and merchandise vendors as well as a number of faith and community organizations.The goal of the event is to promote unity, acceptance and awareness of the local lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. The main event is Saturday, August 23 at Promenade Park. Other events throughout the weekend include the Pride Parade on Saturday morning, and ...
    The fifth annual Toledo Pride Festival runs August 22-24. The festival features more than a dozen local and national bands, more than 75 food and merchandise vendors as well as a number of faith and community organizations.The goal of the event is to promote unity, acceptance and awareness of the local lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. The main event is Saturday, August 23 at Promenade Park. Other events throughout the weekend include the Pride Parade on Saturday morning, and ...

Area Events Calendar

See It, Shoot It, Send It!