Winter storms range from a moderate snow over a few hours to a blizzard with blinding snow that lasts for several days. Some winter storms are large enough to affect several states, while others affect only a single community. Many winter storms are accompanied by dangerously-low temperatures and sometimes by strong winds, icing, sleet, and freezing rain.
When winter storms are likely, advisories are issued by the National Weather Service. Here's a guide to what the various advisories mean ...
Winter Storm Outlook
Winter storm conditions are possible in the next 2 to 5 days.
Winter Weather Advisory
Winter weather conditions are expected to cause significant inconveniences and may be hazardous. When caution is used, these situations should not be life threatening.
Winter Storm Watch
Winter storm conditions are possible within the next 36 to 48 hours. People in a watch area should review their winter storm plans and stay informed about weather conditions.
Winter Storm Warning
Life threatening, severe winter conditions have begun or will begin within 24 hours. People in a warning area should take precautions immediately.