• Winter Storm Warning: Issued when hazardous winter weather in the form of heavy snow, heavy freezing rain, or heavy sleet is imminent or occurring.


  • Winter Storm Warnings are usually issued 12 to 24 hours before the event is expected to begin.


  • 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 prior to 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.


  • Blizzard Warning: Issued for 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.


  • 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.


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


  • Dense Fog Advisory: Issued when fog will reduce visibility to ¼ mile or less over a widespread area.


  • Snow Flurries: Light snow falling for short durations. No accumulation or light dusting is all that is expected.


  • Snow Showers: Snow falling at varying intensities for brief periods of time. Some accumulation is possible.


  • Blowing Snow: Wind-driven snow that reduces visibility and causes significant drifting. Blowing snow may be snow that is falling and/or loose snow on the ground picked up by the wind.


  • Sleet: Rain drops that freeze into ice pellets before reaching the ground. Sleet usually bounces when hitting a surface and does not stick to objects. However, it can accumulate like snow and cause a hazard to motorists.














Cold Weather Emergencies

When you hear that someone has "died of exposure," the killer may have been hypothermia - from hypo, meaning "low" and thermite, meaning "heat."  Hypothermia occurs when the body is losing more heat than it can generate.

A victim of hypothermia begins feeling chilly, tired and irritable.  If they do not receive help, they will begin to shiver.  Soon their shivering becomes violent, the bodies best defense against hypothermia, as their body tries to generate heat.  The victim cannot clearly think to take care of them.  They may stumble and fall.  If the victim continues to become chilled, the shivering will stop, and they will be close to death.


First Aid  

If someone is showing any symptoms of hypothermia, take action immediately.  Get the patient warm by moving them indoors or into a warm vehicle.  Get off any wet clothes they may be wearing.  Wrap them in fry warm garments such as a blanket or sleeping bag. Warming MUST take place slowly.  Do not put them in a hot bath.  Sudden warm up will put the victim in shock, and the shock, not the cold will kill them.  Do not give an unconscious patient anything by mouth and call for help.



Flesh that has been exposed to low temperatures is in danger of freezing and the longer the exposure, the more damaging the injury.  Farthest from the bodies core are the toes, fingers, cheeks, ears & nose and are the most susceptible to frostbite.

How to spot it.  As flesh freezes, it may become painful and then numb, although the victim seldom realizes what is happening.  If the freezing continues, the area will stiffen and become a grayish or whitish color.


First Aid

Get the affected area warm and keep it warm.  In the field, thaw fingers by holding them beneath your clothes and under your armpits.  Press an open palm over a frosted nose, ears, and cheeks.  Wrap toes and feet in a warm blanket.  DO NOT use hot water or hold the injury close to a heat source.


 DO NOT rub with snow.  Excessive heat and abrasion can cause severe tissue damage.  

Above all, this person requires medical attention.





Cold Weather Safety


C.O.L.DWinter adventures can be exciting and as long as you are prepared to keep yourself warm, you'll be fine.  Of course, frigid winter conditions make the proper choice and use of clothing more vital than at other times of the year.  As you prepare your cold weather clothing, keep warm by following this -  ..



Since insulation is effective when the heat of your body is trapped by dead air spaces, keep your insulating layers of clothing clean and fluffy.  Things like dirt and perspiration can mat down these insulating air spaces and reduce the warmth of the garment.



Avoid overheating by adjusting your layers of clothing to meet the outside temperature and the exertions of your activities.  Excessive sweating can dampen your clothing and cause chilling.  See C above.


L-Loose Layering

A steady flow of warm blood is essential to keep all parts of your body heated.  Wear several loosely fitting layers of clothing and footwear that will allow maximum insulation without impeding your circulation.



Damp clothing and skin can cause your body to cool quickly, possibly leading to frostbite or hypothermia.  Keep clothing dry by avoiding clothes such as cotton.  Brush snow from your clothing before it melts.  Loosen the clothing around your neck and chest.  Body heat drives perspiration through many layers of breathable cloth, so do not wear waterproof clothes.



The body looses the most heat, 80% through your uncovered head.  This happens because of the many blood vessels that are close to the skin's surface.  Wearing a hat or other head protection will help conserve this heat loss.