The National Weather Service and the Texas Division of Emergency Management have designated today, November 14, 2012 as Winter Weather Awareness Day in Texas. This is an annual safety campaign designed to promote winter weather awareness and safety.
Each year, West Texas is affected by winter weather, with at least one winter storm impacting the area in a typical year. Across the United States, an average of 23 fatalities can be attributed each year to winter weather, and dozens of fatalities can be attributed to exposure to cold. Add to that number, vehicle accidents and fatalities, fires due to dangerous use of heaters, and other winter weather fatalities, and you have a significant threat.
The keys to avoiding serious injury or death during a major winter storm include knowing the safety rules to survive cold weather, knowing how to stay informed of forecasts and warnings for winter storm conditions, and preparing ahead of time to handle difficult travel conditions and other exposure to harsh cold weather conditions.
Winter Weather Watches, Warnings and Advisories – What do they all Mean?
The National Weather Service uses specific winter weather terms to ensure that people know what to expect in the coming days and hours . A Winter Storm Watch means that severe winter conditions, such as heavy snow and/or ice, may affect your area, but its occurrence, location and timing are still uncertain. A winter storm watch is issued to provide 12 to 36 hours notice of the possibility of severe winter weather. A winter storm watch is intended to provide enough lead time so those who need to set plans in motion can do so. A watch is upgraded to a Winter Storm Warning when 4 or more inches of snow or sleet is expected in the next 12 hours, or 6 or more inches in 24 hours, or 1/4 inch or more of ice accretion is expected. Winter Weather Advisories inform you that winter weather conditions are expected to cause significant inconveniences that may be hazardous. If caution is exercised, advisory situations should not become life-threatening. A Blizzard Warning means that snow and strong winds will combine to produce a blinding snow (near zero visibility), deep drifts, and life-threatening wind chill. Be sure to listen carefully to the radio, television, and NOAA Weather Radio for the latest winter storm watches, warnings, and advisories.