Winter does not officially begin until December 21st, but most of the state has already seen their first freeze of the season, thanks to our recent cold front. It is all down hill from here! Since Texas is so large, we see many types of weather and climates. Winter storms play a bigger role in the Texas Panhandle and are very rare in south Texas or the coast. However, it is always best to be prepared!
Here are the definitions of different winter advisories you could see this winter:
Blizzard Watch – Conditions are favorable for blizzard conditions to be met in the next 12 to 48 hours.
Winter Storm Watch – Conditions are favorable for local winter storm criteria to be met within the next 12 to 48 hours.
Wind Chill Watch – Conditions are favorable for dangerous wind chill readings to occurr during the next 12 to 48 hours.
Blizzard Warning – Blizzard conditions are likely. This means falling or blowing snow reducing visbilities to 1/4 mile or less and wind speeds of 35 mph for greater for at least 3 hours.
Winter Storm Warning – Winter weather is expected to meet or exceed local criteria. This includes heavy snow of 4 inches over a 12 hour period (6 inches in 24 hours) or 1/2 inch of sleet accumulation. This may also include a combination of heavy snow, sleet and/or freezing rain.
Ice Storm Warning – Freezing rain or drizzle is likely to result in ice accumulations of 1/2 inch or greater.
Wind Chill Warning – Wind chill temperatures are expected to be less than or equal to -18 degrees Fahrenheit.
Winter Weather Advisory – Snow or sleet accumulations (or a combination of snow, ice and sleet) that are below warning criteria but may cause inconveniences in routine activies.
Freezing Rain – Light accumulations of less than 1/4 inch of ice are expected from freezing rain or drizzle.
Wind Chill Advisory – Wind chill temperatures are expected to be less than or equal to 0 degrees Fahrenheit.
One of the most dangerous parts of winter storms is traveling. About 70% of fatalities due to snow and ice come from people in automobiles. It is a good idea to have a safety kit in your vehicle at all times. Also, let someone know your route and when you will be traveling.
There is a lot more information in the following links and we encourage you to take a look.