What's the difference between a lake effect snow advisory and a lake effect snow warning? Find out here with winter terminology and vocabulary. 

Black ice
Ice that appears black because it's very thin and difficult to spot. It forms when rain falls onto a surface with a temperature below freezing.

Blizzard
Winter storm conditions of sustained winds or frequent gusts of 35 mph or more that cause major blowing and drifting of snow, reducing visibility for 3 or more hours. Extremely cold temperatures often are associated with dangerous blizzard conditions.

Blizzard Warning 
Sustained or gusty winds of 35 mph or more, and falling or blowing snow creating visibilities at or below ¼ mile; these conditions should persist for at least three hours.

Freezing drizzle
If it rains and the temperature is 32 degrees or less, a thin coat of ice is created causing traveling problems.

Heavy snow warning
This is now known as 'a winter storm warning' for heavy snow. Issued when seven or more inches of snow or sleet is expected in the next 24 hours. A warning is used for winter weather conditions posing a threat to life and property.

High wind warning
Issued when sustained winds from 40 to 73 mph are expected for at least one hour, or any wind gusts are expected to reach 58 miles per hour or more.

Ice storm
Rain that's falling and freezing on contact with cold objects creating ice build-ups of 1/4th inch or more that can cause severe damage.

Lake Effect Snow Warning
Issued when heavy lake effect snow is imminent or occurring.

Lake Effect Snow Advisory
Issued when the accumulation of lake effect snow will cause significant inconvenience.

Snow squalls
Intense, but of limited duration, periods of moderate to heavy snowfall, accompanied by strong, gusty surface winds and possibly lightning.

Wind chill
The additional cooling effect resulting from wind blowing on bare skin. The wind chill is based on the rate of heat loss from exposed skin caused by the combined effects of wind and cold. The (equivalent) wind chill temperature is the temperature the body "feels" for a certain combination of the wind and air temperature.

Wind Chill Advisory
Issued when wind chill temperatures are expected to be a significant inconvenience to life with prolonged exposure, and, if caution is not exercised, could lead to hazardous exposure.

Wind Chill Warning
Issued when wind chill temperatures are expected to be hazardous to life within several minutes of exposure.

Winter storm
A heavy snow event. A snow accumulation of more than six inches in 12 hours or more than 12 inches in 24 hours.

Winter storm warning
Issued when seven or more inches of snow or sleet is expected in the next 24 hours, or 1/2 inch or more of accretion of freezing rain is expected. A warning is used for winter weather conditions posing a threat to life and property.

Winter Storm Watch                                                                                                          Alerts the public to the possibility of a blizzard, heavy snow, heavy freezing rain, or heavy sleet. Winter Storm Watches are usually issued 12 to 48 hours before the beginning of a Winter Storm.

Winter Storm Outlook                                                                                                      Issued before a Winter Storm Watch. The Outlook is given when forecasters believe winter storm conditions are possible and are usually issued 3 to 5 days in advance of a winter storm.

Winter Weather Advisories
Issued for accumulations of snow, freezing rain, freezing drizzle, and sleet that will cause significant inconveniences and, if caution is not exercised, could lead to life-threatening situations.

[Information from NOAA and Timeanddate.com]


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