What’s the difference between a Weather Watch, Warning, and Advisory?

Taco Ingredients

With the Snow Train coming our Way, it is a good time to review the difference!

National Weather Service (NWS) Definitions

Winter Weather Advisories are issued when snow, blowing snow, ice, sleet, or a combination of these wintry elements is expected but conditions should not be hazardous enough to meet warning criteria.  Be prepared for winter driving conditions and possible travel difficulties. Use caution when driving.

Cupcake WW WA
Perhaps you don’t like tacos? How about a cupcake analogy?

Winter Storm Watches are issued when conditions are favorable for a significant winter storm event (heavy sleet, heavy snow, ice storm, heavy snow and blowing snow or a combination of events.)

Bear WW WA

Winter Storm Warnings are issued for a significant winter weather event including snow, ice, sleet or blowing snow or a combination of these hazards.  Travel will become difficult or impossible in some situations. Delay your travel plans until conditions improve.

Blizzard Warnings are issued for frequent gusts greater than or equal to 35 mph accompanied by falling and/or blowing snow, frequently reducing visibility to less than 1/4 mile for three hours or more. A Blizzard Warning means severe winter weather conditions are expected or occurring. Falling and blowing snow with strong winds and poor visibilities are likely, leading to whiteout conditions making travel extremely difficult. Do not travel. If you must travel, have a winter survival kit with you. If you get stranded, stay with your vehicle and wait for help to arrive. Note: It is unusual to meet all the criteria for a blizzard.

Witch WW WA 2
Something to remember when you’re traveling in tornado areas.

We hope this is helpful to you in remembering the difference between a Weather Advisory, a Weather Watch, and a Weather Warning.

Grand Junction NWS Advisory & Warning Map

Grand Junction Map
CO23 is the valley area that includes Pagosa Springs & CO19 that includes Wolf Creek Pass.
Grand Junction Criteria
Grand Junction NWS Weather Warning & Weather Advisory Snowfall Criteria. Pagosa Springs is in a “Valley” area. Wolf Creek Pass is in a “Mountain” area.

– Arleen

Pagosa Weather Blizzard Level Sponsor

Pagosa Weather Storm Sponsor

Picture of Arleen Pro

Arleen Pro

I grew up in Montana where my love of the mountains is rooted. I was in the Air Force, forecasting aviation weather, for 24 years. I had eight assignments and my favorites were Colorado, Alaska, Korea, and Germany. I deployed a number of times including to Iraq and Afghanistan. After RV traveling for nine years, we found paradise in Pagosa. Here we enjoy playing outside in the spectacular San Juan mountains!
Get Pagosa Weather Updates

Enter your email address to receive notifications of new posts by email.

2 Responses

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pagosa Weather Disclaimer and Release of Liability

This website makes no guarantees about nor bears any responsibility or liability concerning the accuracy or timeliness of the weather information published on this website. All weather information published on this website is for educational and weather enthusiast purposes only. We do not issue Storm Watches, Warnings or Advisories as that ability falls with the National Weather Service, who is the only institution allowed to issue such warnings by law. We are not in any way linked nor affiliated with the National Weather Service, although we do share information and relay weather watches/ warnings, etc. Use of the information on page is at your own risk/discretion, and we are not responsible for any personal/property damages, injury or death associated with weather forecasts, reports or other information as well as communication exchanged in private messages and/or person.

Terms of Use                  Privacy Policy

 

© 2024 Pagosa Weathe

Website Design by : Brandon