2006-01-04 / Other Jenkins News

Natural disasters: Winter storms defined

Winter Weather Terms

Being familiar with terminology used by the Weather Service will help you know what to expect when weather warnings are issued.

The following terms are used frequently in reference to winter weather.

 Freezing rain occurs when temperatures are below 32 degrees F and rain freezes on impact. This causes an ice coating on all exposed surfaces. If the coating is heavy, falling trees or wires can be additional hazards.

 Ice storm freezing rain or drizzle is called an ice storm when a substantial glaze layer accumulates. In some parts of the country, ice storms are called "silver thaws" or "silver frosts."

 Silver thaw term used in reference to an ice storm.

 Silver frost term used in reference to an ice storm.

 Sleet frozen rain drops (ice pellets) that bounce on surface impact. Sleet does not stick to other objects, but sufficient accumulations can cause dangerous driving conditions.

 Traveler's advisory report to inform travelers that falling snow and/or drifting snow, strong winds, freezing rain, drizzle of other weather condition may make driving hazardous.

 Blizzard when wind speeds of 35 miles per hour or more, with blowing or drifting snow, are expected.

 Severe blizzard great density of falling and/or blowing snow, wind speeds of 45 mph or more and temperatures of 100 degrees F or lower.

 Snow squalls brief, intense snow falls accompanied by gusty surface winds.

 Stockmen's advisory report issued when weather combinations (cold rain and/or snow with temperatures of 45 degrees F or colder and winds 25 miles per hour or higher) occur. If the temperatures are in the mid 30's or lower, the wind speed criteria for an advisory is lowered to 15 miles per hour.

 Wind chill factor the combined effect of wind and cold. (For example, a very strong wind combined with a temperature below freezing can have the same chilling effect as a temperature nearly 50 degrees lower with no wind.)

 Snow drift snow banked up by the wind.  Heavy snow when four or more inches of snow fall during a 12-hour period, or when six inches or more fall during a 24hour period.

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