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April 9, 2015 – AccuWeather

While the peak occurrences for severe weather events in the United States happen between March and October, severe weather can occur at any time. In order to save lives, branches of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will issue public watches and warnings.

Knowing the difference between the two can prepare individuals for the necessary steps to take when considering the threat of severe weather. Watches and warnings issued to the public are based on different criteria.

Watches are issued by the NOAA’s SPC, and warnings are issued by local offices of the National Weather Service (NWS).

“A watch is issued when conditions are favorable, for example, either for a severe thunderstorm or tornadoes,” AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Dan Kottlowski said. “It doesn’t mean severe weather is imminent.”

“Typical watches cover about 25,000 square miles, or about half the size of Iowa,” according to the SPC.

Kottlowski said there are no set criteria for issuing watches, but if the conditions seem consistent with a developing severe weather pattern, watches can be changed and altered by monitoring ongoing developments.

Continue reading at AccuWeather: The Difference Between Tornado Watches and Warnings

By Kevin Byrne AccuWeather.com

An icy mix will expand eastward from the mid-Mississippi Valley into the Tennessee Valley on Monday, bringing significant ice accumulations to residents from central Oklahoma through much of Tennessee.

“Road conditions will be deteriorating across Kentucky and Tennessee for the morning commute as snow and ice become more widespread,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Brian Lada said.

On the northern side of the storm, snow will expand eastward into the Ohio Valley with several inches of accumulation from Springfield, Missouri, through St. Louis and over to Paducah, Kentucky, and Louisville.

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UPDATES: (All times are listed in CST)

9:13 a.m. CST Monday: Icy roadways across much of southern Illinois, the Illinois Department of Transportation reports.

8:55 a.m. CST Monday: Icy conditions on roads and bridges in northern Mississippi, MDOT reports.

8:33 a.m. CST Monday: National Weather Service spotters report 4 inches of snow in St. Peters, Missouri and 1.5 inches of snow near Gerald, Missouri. Snow continues to fall in both locations.

8:21 a.m. CST Monday: More than 12,600 Entergy Arkansas customers without power due to the winter storm, the utility reports.

Continued coverage at AccuWeather: LIVE: Winter Storm Unleashes Heavy Snow, Ice in Central and Southern US

wind-chill-frostbite-chart
Source: National Weather Service

By Ken Jorgustin – Modern Survival Blog

Wind Chill Chart

The Wind Chill Chart shown above (from the National Weather Service) is a temperature index which accurately indicates how cold the air feels on human skin.

The Wind Chill Chart includes a frostbite indicator, showing the temperatures at which wind speed and exposure time will produce frostbite by the three color shaded areas of temperatures versus 30, 10, and 5 minutes until frostbite on exposed skin.

For example, using the chart – a temperature of 0°F and a wind speed of 15 mph will produce a wind chill temperature of -19°F. Under these conditions, exposed skin can freeze in 30 minutes

Continue reading at Modern Survival Blog: Wind Chill Frostbite Chart

By Katy Galimberti

Marked as National Preparedness Month, September brings the reminder of how pivotal it is to be prepared for extreme weather in order to minimize the impact on families, communities and essential infrastructures.

The National Weather Service is partnered with AccuWeather in order to mold a resilient nation that has the proper information, tools and knowledge to brace for nature’s fury. Known as Weather-Ready Nation, the program strives to hinder the potential damage by encouraging citizens to prepare now for weather that could strike at any moment.

September’s headlining phrase for creating a strong, equipped country is “Be Disaster Aware, Take Action to Prepare.” The simple message can be taken in great stride to protect yourself, your family and your entire community.

The entire effort is based upon four pillars: be informed, make a plan, build a kit and get involved.

The Weather-Ready Nation Ambassador Lead for the NWS Douglas Hilderbrand stressed the instrumental importance of treating preparedness as a “365-days-of-the-year state of mind.”

“We have national preparedness month to shine the spotlight on preparedness, but really it’s every single day that people need to know as they’re making their plans and what risks are out there,” he said.

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As the weather is ever-evolving and rapidly changing, Hilderbrand strongly encourages people to remain prepared even when away from the shelter of home. While having a kit is essential, there should be plans in place if danger strikes at a school, an office or even in transit.

Hilderbrand cited the late-January 2014 winter storm that slammed Atlanta and left highways clogged with stranded motorists. The massive number of people stuck on icy, impassable highways could have been avoided by businesses having adequate plans to keep employees home and off dangerous roads, he said.

Weather and climate disasters have been the catalyst for a connected, supportive nation, including events such as Hurricane Katrina. To this day, Hurricane Katrina remains the most expensive billion-dollar disaster in the U.S. since 1980 with over $149 billion lost.

Hurricane Katrina destroyed entire towns and portions of cities along the Gulf Coast in the U.S. late in August of 2005 (Photo/NOAA).

Still, communities need to think of everyday weather events as a way to protect each other as well.

“Serve as an example to your family, neighbors, community. Inspire others to know the risk, take action and promote [preparedness] throughout your social network,” Hilderbrand said.

More at AccuWeather: National Preparedness Month: Tips to Become ‘Ready, Responsive and Resilient’ to Extreme Weather

AccuWeather

While the peak occurrences for severe weather events in the United States happen between March and October, severe weather can occur at any time. In order to save lives, branches of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will issue public watches and warnings.

Knowing the difference between the two can prepare individuals for the necessary steps to take when considering the threat of severe weather. Watches and warnings issued to the public are based on different criteria.

Watches are issued by the NOAA’s SPC, and warnings are issued by local offices of the National Weather Service (NWS).

“A watch is issued when conditions are favorable, for example, either for a severe thunderstorm or tornadoes,” AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Dan Kottlowski said. “It doesn’t mean severe weather is imminent.”

“Typical watches cover about 25,000 square miles, or about half the size of Iowa,” according to the SPC.

Kottlowski said there are no set criteria for issuing watches, but if the conditions seem consistent with a developing severe weather pattern, watches can be changed and altered by monitoring ongoing developments.

“It can vary,” he said. “There is not just one set of ingredients; every watch may have a different set of perimeters from one day to the next since it is based on a synoptic situation that may change within several hours.”

Warnings mean that severe weather is imminent and is based on specific criteria and existing reports received by the NWS.

(Photo/NOAA Photo Library)

The criteria include hail that totals more than 1 inch in diameter and wind speeds of 55 mph.

“Lightning is not a criteria for a severe thunderstorm warning,” Kottlowski said. “Heavy rain is not either.”

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Warnings must follow the two main criteria, he said, adding urban flood and stream advisories, flash flood watches and warnings, and flood watches and warnings, may accompany a storm with heavy rain.

Warnings are issued through the efforts of individuals working for the NWS.

“The way a warning is issued is that a meteorologist will monitor the weather by radar and look for particular areas where there could be high impact damage,” Kottlowski said. “They will issue a warning and there will be a signature for an existing storm or developing tornado.”

Trained NWS spotters will verify reports of rotation or storm damage.

“This gives the meteorologists confidence in what they are seeing on radar,” he said.

This article first appeared at: The Difference Between Tornado Watches and Warnings

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