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Weather weather definitions

Snow (Image courtesy of

Every year in the Miami Valley, we are subject to periods of wintry conditions that lead to hazardous travel. When equipped with the proper information, you can remain one step ahead of the storms.

Below are our local National Weather Service definitions for watches, warnings, and advisories issued throughout the winter.

Winter Weather Advisory: 4 inches of snow or under 1/2 inch of sleet in 12 hours; or falling and/or blowing snow reducing visibility to 1/4 mile or less, with winds of 34 mph or less; or significant black ice conditions.

Winter Storm Watch/Warning: 6 inches of snow or 1/2 inch of sleet in 12 hours or 8 inches of snow in 24 hours.

Ice Storm Warning: Ice accumulation of 1/4 inch or greater in 24 hours.

Freezing Rain Advisory: Ice accumulation of less than 1/4 inch.

Blizzard Watch/Warning: Sustained winds or frequent gusts to 35 mph or greater combined with falling and/or blowing snow, and visibility reduced to 1/4 mile or less for at least 3 hours.

Wind Chill Watch/Warning: Wind Chill of -25ºF or less with wind of 10 MPH or greater.

Wind Chill Advisory: Wind Chill of -10ºF to -24ºF with wind of 10 MPH or greater.

Snow emergencies are often issued during the winter. Below are definitions of what these emergencies mean.

Level 1 Snow Emergency: Roads are hazardous with snow and ice. Use caution when traveling.

Level 2 Snow Emergency: Roads are hazardous with snow and ice. Contact your employer to see if you are supposed to report to work. Only travel if absolutely necessary.

Level 3 Snow Emergency: No one should be on the roads, with the exception of emergency personnel and road crews. Contact your employer to see if you are supposed to report to work. You are subject to prosecution, however, by traveling under a level 3 snow emergency.

With these definitions in mind, you are sure to stay one step ahead of the storms this winter.

Sources/Additional Information: National Weather Service; Greene County Sheriff




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