Winter Weather Awareness

By Brian Alonzo

Winter officially is right around the corner and the State of Texas along with the National Weather Service and us here at KSAT-12 want you to be prepared and safe should the weather pose a threat.November 10, 2009 has been designated as Texas Winter Weather Awareness Day by the Governors Division of Emergency Management. In this blog we’ll give you a heads up of what we expect this winter and how you can prepare for any winter storm.

We are in an El Nino weather pattern which means we can expect a wetter/cooler winter. El Nino is the warming of the Pacific Ocean waters off the coast of South America. Does this mean snow for San Antonio? Not necessarily. Remember the big snowfall in 1985? That happened during a La Nina cycle. However, winter precipitation is a possibility this year if we can get colder temperatures to mix with some precipitation.

Here are some Winter Weather Defintions courtesy the National Weather Service in New Braunfels:

A WINTER STORM IS AN EVENT CAUSING A SIGNIFICANT ACCUMULATION OF ICE OR SNOW. A SIGNIFICANT SNOW ACCUMULATION WOULD BE 4 INCHES OR MORE IN 12 HOURS OR 6 INCHES OR MORE IN 24 HOURS.

A QUARTER-INCH OR MORE OF ICE OR SLEET WOULD BE CONSIDERED SIGNIFICANT. THESE CAN PRODUCE DANGEROUS TRAVEL PROBLEMS AND MAY POSE A THREAT TO LIFE AND PROPERTY. LOW WIND CHILL INDICES AND LOW VISIBILITIES MAY ALSO ACCOMPANY WINTER STORMS.

WINTER STORM WATCHES ARE ISSUED BETWEEN 24 AND 48 HOURS IN ADVANCE OF AN EXPECTED WINTER STORM. THE WATCH WILL DESCRIBE THE KIND OF WINTER WEATHER EXPECTED…SNOW AND OR SLEET AND OR ICE…AND THE EXPECTED ACCUMULATION. WHEN A WATCH IS ISSUED…RESIDENTS SHOULD TAKE CAUTION…BEGIN TO PREPARE…AND KEEP ABREAST OF THE LATEST DEVELOPMENTS.

WINTER STORM WARNINGS ARE ISSUED WHEN A WINTER STORM IS EXPECTED WITHIN 24 HOURS. AT THIS TIME…PREPARATIONS TO PROTECT LIFE AND PROPERTY SHOULD BE COMPLETED. SEVERE WINTER STORMS BRING PROLONGED POWER OUTAGES AND VERY DANGEROUS DRIVING CONDITIONS.

WINTER WEATHER ADVISORIES ARE ISSUED WHEN LIGHT ACCUMULATIONS OF SNOW…FREEZING RAIN…FREEZING DRIZZLE…OR SLEET ARE EXPECTED TO OCCUR BUT CAUSE ONLY AN INCONVENIENCE TO MOTORISTS AND RESIDENTS.

A WIND CHILL ADVISORY IS ISSUED WHEN WIND CHILL TEMPERATURES ARE EXPECTED FALL TO ZERO OR BELOW. REMEMBER…WIND CHILL IS WHAT THE ACTUAL AIR TEMPERATURE FEELS LIKE WITH THE WIND FACTORED INTO IT. RESIDENTS SHOULD LIMIT OUTDOOR EXPOSURE AND OR PROTECT EXPOSED SKIN DURING LOW WIND CHILL READINGS.

Some things to have ready at home:

A flashlight with extra batteries.  AM/FM  and NOAA weather radio for emergency information. Extra food and water. Supplies for First Aid. Don’t forget about your pets.

If you’re traveling:  Check ahead with the weather conditions. Make sure your vehicle is winterized and have the following in your car:

Blankets, Sleeping Bags, First Aid Kit, Flashlight with batteries, Knife, Food, Extra clothing, Windshield scraper and brush, tool kit, booster cables, compass and road maps.

 

Keep It Tuned to KSAT-12, KSAT.com, JustWeather.com and on Twitter @ksatweather

 

 

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