If you’re located somewhere in Bedford, Blair, or Garrett county then you might’ve taken notice of those annoying little TV weather advisory notices that inconveniently flashes up at what seems to be the most thrilling part of a Pittsburgh Steelers come from behind play-off win. Contrary to popular belief those often unwelcome little notices actually serve a valuable purpose. They are there to alert you of possible weather notices that may cause disruption or danger.
Okay, so we get that these little warnings and advisories are important. So, what exactly are they? Today we take a closer look at a few of the most common winter weather warnings and advisories.
A goal of the National Weather Service is to provide information on winter storms, with enough advance notice to allow the whole community to take actions needed to prepare for and deal with adverse and sometimes dangerous weather conditions. As the threat of severe winter weather draws closer, and the confidence in the location and timing of the event increases, the National Weather Service will issue various bulletins that become increasingly more specific. Here is what these bulletins mean, and what precautions you should take:
Winter Storm Outlook
A winter storm outlook is issued when conditions are favorable for hazardous winter weather to develop within the next 3 to 7 days. It is intended for those groups that require considerable lead time to prepare for the event.
- ACTION: Stay tuned to local media or monitor NOAA Weather Radio for updates. Evaluate your emergency action plan and the resources you have in your home, car or work place to deal with a winter storm.
Winter Storm Watch
A winter storm watch is issued when the risk of hazardous winter weather has increased, but occurrence, location and timing is still somewhat uncertain. Generally, a watch is issued when there is a significant threat of severe winter weather in the next 12 to 48 hours.
- ACTION: You should prepare now and ensure that all emergency plans and resources are in place. Note: Winter Storm Watches may be upgraded to Winter Storm Warnings, if conditions warrant.
Winter Weather Advisory
Winter weather advisories are issued for less serious winter weather conditions that are occurring, or have a high likelihood of occurring. These products are used for winter weather situations that are less severe than a Warning, but will cause significant inconvenience. These situations should not be life threatening, damage is usually localized and the main danger is hazardous travel.
Winter Storm Warning
A winter storm warning is issued when a hazardous winter weather event is occurring, imminent, or has a very high probability of occurrence. Warning products are used for conditions that pose a threat to life or property. Winter Storm warnings are issued for several types of hazardous winter weather, including heavy snow, sleet, or a combination of snow and wind.
- ACTION: YOU SHOULD ACT NOW. STAY INDOORS IF POSSIBLE UNTIL THE STORM ENDS. LIMIT ANY TRAVEL TO ONLY WHAT IS ESSENTIAL.
Ice Storm Warning
An ice storm warning is issued when freezing rain will accumulate at a rate that causes a coating of ice that will make outdoor activities dangerous. Tree limbs and power lines fall under the weight of the ice. These conditions are fairly rare but, when they occur, can be especially dangerous.
Blizzard warnings are issued when:
- Sustained wind speeds of 35 mph or more, or frequents wind gusts of 35 mph or more.
- Considerable falling and/or blowing snow is occurring, reducing visibility to less then 1/4 of a mile.
Dangerous Wind Chill Warning
Wind chill warnings are issued when the Wind chill of -20 degrees or colder are expected or occurring and:
- Expected to last one hour or longer.
- Wind speeds of 10 mph or more are expected or occurring.
What Can I do to be Prepared?
Being prepared in advance for an unexpected winter storm can be vital to you and your family’s overall safety. Here are a few tips from BVP to keep in mind:
- Stock your shelves: Buy an ample supply of non-perishable food items. Items like canned goods, and resealable foods are always a safe bet.
- Keep your tanks from running out: Don’t ever risk running out of fuel. When winter storms hit some areas can become difficult to deliver to. Waiting for your tank to run close to empty could mean an untimely runout if we are unable to reach your home or tank. Instead, consider automatic delivery. As an automatic customer we’ll track your tanks usage. When you are ready for delivery we will show up and take care of it for you. No calling, no waiting.
- Stock up on Melting Salt, Shovels: Keep a few bags of melting salt handy. It will make your driveway or sidewalk safer to possible visitors.
- Update Neighborhood Contact Information: If you haven’t seen your neighbors much due to the dropping temperatures it might be a good idea to stop by and make sure their phone number is the same. With many homes moving away from traditional landlines, it’s always a good precaution to have your neighbors contact information in cases of emergency.
- Keep Sidewalks, and access points clear: To keep you family cozy with timely heating oil deliveries, it is essential that access points remain clear of snow and ice to ensure smooth and on-time deliveries. We knoe our technicians will appreciate the extra effort.