The National Weather Service issues warning, advisories and winter watches. There are three big ones to know this time of year.
Winter Weather Advisory: Winter weather is expected so use caution. This is issued usually within 12 hours of the event occurring. Advisories are used for light accumulations of wintry precipitation, blowing and drifting snow, light ice or black ice that can all make travel dangerous.
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Winter Storm Watch: Decent confidence that a winter storm will develop and produce heavy snow, sleet or freezing rain. A watch means to be prepared. In the Miami Valley, the criteria for a watch is 6 inches of snow or ½ inch of sleet in 12 hours; or 8 inches of snow in 24 hours. These will be issued a few days out.
Winter Storm Warning: Significant winter weather including heavy snow, sleet, freezing rain, blowing snow or a combo is expected to affect the area. Travel will be dangerous. The Winter Storm Watch criteria listed above will be possible but the window that it is expected to start is smaller, usually a day or less away from the event. Warning means you should take action and be ready for deteriorating travel.
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It is always smart to make sure you have the WHIO Weather App with winter alerts turned on so you won’t miss any updates.