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National
Winter weather watch, warning and advisory: What's the difference?
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Winter weather watch, warning and advisory: What's the difference?

How To Prepare For Winter Weather

Winter weather watch, warning and advisory: What's the difference?

Have you ever wondered how the National Weather Service can tell that a major winter storm is brewing and will affect your area in the coming days or hours? How can meteorologists tell if a storm is intensifying and where it will bring the most snow?

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It's a highly sophisticated process. It starts with observing the current situation. The National Weather Service operates a widespread network of observing systems such as geostationary satellites.

How are winter storms monitored and forecast?

Doppler radars and automated surface observing systems constantly monitor the current state-of-the-art numerical computer models to provide a glimpse of what will happen next, ranging from hours to days. 

The models are then analyzed by NWS meteorologists, who use their experience and expertise to write and disseminate forecasts. 

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.

Winter storm watch means that severe winter conditions, such as heavy snow and/or ice, may affect your area, but their 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 are expected in the next 12 hours or 6 or more inches in 24 hours, or a quarter-inch or more of ice accumulation is expected.

A winter weather advisory informs the public 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 chills. Listen carefully to the radio, television and NOAA weather radios for the latest winter storm watches, warnings and advisories. 

Why is predicting the exact amount of snowfall so challenging?

Snow forecasts continue to improve, but they remain a challenging task for meteorologists. Heavy snow often falls in small bands that are hard to discern on larger-scale computer models. In addition, extremely small temperature differences define the boundary line between rain and snow.

Will the approaching storm bring heavy snowfall to your area?

Each winter, meteorologists at the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma, monitor weather data from across the nation for developing bands of heavy snow and freezing precipitation, as well as lightning, within weather systems.

Their ability to provide additional information about developing situations enhances winter storm warnings and helps National Weather Service field offices, private industry and local governments improve preparedness. For instance, a prediction of 8 inches of snow carries much greater consequences for a city's rush hour than 4 inches.

Want to learn more about the Storm Prediction Center's operations? For additional information visit the Storm Prediction Center web page

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  • Just a few years after boasting that tickets for his appearance on Saturday Night Live were the “hardest to get in the history of this great show,” President Donald Trump on Sunday morning again expressed his unhappiness with his portrayal on the long time NBC comedy program, as he issued a familiar blast, saying the “RIGGED AND CORRUPT MEDIA IS THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE.” “Nothing funny about tired Saturday Night Live on Fake News NBC,” the President tweeted early on Sunday morning, before he left his Florida retreat at Mar-a-Lago for a round of golf, as Mr. Trump again complained about his treatment by the press. “Question is, how do the Networks get away with these total Republican hit jobs without retribution?” the President tweeted. While Mr. Trump did not specify what had earned his ire, Saturday Night Live began its latest show with actor Alec Baldwin portraying the President at his Friday news conference, where the President announced a national emergency to funnel money from the Pentagon into a border wall. It was a different story for President Trump back in November of 2015, when his appearance helped the show’s ratings. “Thank you to all of those who gave me such wonderful reviews for my performance,” the President said a few days after his NBC appearance – before many people gave him a serious chance to win the White House. But by October of 2016 – as the election approached – the President did not like what he was seeing on Saturday Night Live, and that has kept going in 2017 and 2018 as well, no matter how many times he’s tuned in, or seen highlights aimed at him. Watched Saturday Night Live hit job on me.Time to retire the boring and unfunny show. Alec Baldwin portrayal stinks. Media rigging election! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 16, 2016 I watched parts of @nbcsnl Saturday Night Live last night. It is a totally one-sided, biased show – nothing funny at all. Equal time for us? — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 20, 2016 Just tried watching Saturday Night Live – unwatchable! Totally biased, not funny and the Baldwin impersonation just can't get any worse. Sad — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 4, 2016 . @NBCNews is bad but Saturday Night Live is the worst of NBC. Not funny, cast is terrible, always a complete hit job. Really bad television! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 15, 2017 Like many, I don’t watch Saturday Night Live (even though I past hosted it) – no longer funny, no talent or charm. It is just a political ad for the Dems. Word is that Kanye West, who put on a MAGA hat after the show (despite being told “no”), was great. He’s leading the charge! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 30, 2018 A REAL scandal is the one sided coverage, hour by hour, of networks like NBC & Democrat spin machines like Saturday Night Live. It is all nothing less than unfair news coverage and Dem commercials. Should be tested in courts, can’t be legal? Only defame & belittle! Collusion? — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 16, 2018 Nothing funny about tired Saturday Night Live on Fake News NBC! Question is, how do the Networks get away with these total Republican hit jobs without retribution? Likewise for many other shows? Very unfair and should be looked into. This is the real Collusion! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 17, 2019 The President’s last two tweets – on Sunday morning, and back in December, both used the word “Collusion” in his attacks on Saturday Night Live as well. It was different when he was Candidate Trump – in November of 2015. Thank you to all of those who gave me such wonderful reviews for my performance on @nbcsnl Saturday Night Live. Best ratings in 4 years! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 9, 2015 They are saying that tickets to tonight's Saturday Night Live are the hardest to get in the history of this great show! Off to a good start! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 7, 2015
  • Broken Arrow police were called to a home near Kenosha and S. 145th E. Ave. on Tuesday night. The victim says three males kicked in the front door. The three people took off running when the victim fired a gun. Two of the suspects were armed with a handgun.  Friday morning police released that they arrested 20-year-old Zackary Mosley. Investigators are still looking for the other two suspects. No one was hurt.
  • On July 24th, 1969 Navy frogman John Wolfram was the first person to greet Apollo astronauts back to earth after they became the only humans to have walked on the surface of the moon. But that is only part of Wolfram’s story, which he will share this Sunday at a Tulsa church (see details below). His participation in the Apollo 11 mission to the moon happened in between two deployments to Vietnam. On that second deployment, he was injured and received the Purple Heart. He also had a drug habit, and tells KRMG a bad LSD trip brought him close to suicide. [Hear our full interview with John Wolfram and Pastor Don Martin] He returned to the states and eventually, found himself at a Pentecostal revival meeting. “I went back to my apartment that night and I took a pillow case and filled it up with marijuana and pot and LSD and pills and all the drug paraphernalia, and took it down to the San Diego Bay and baptized them - threw them away,” he told KRMG. He’s spent the next several decades as a missionary around the world, but his primary focus is on Vietnam. He helped build a church there, dedicated to the memory of his friends who died in the war. The public is invited to meet Wolfram and hear his story Sunday (Feb. 17th, 2019) at the Metro Pentecostal Church in Tulsa, beginning at 10:00 a.m. The church is located at 8611 E. 21st Street.
  • The flu vaccine is doing a relatively good job this season, protecting about half the people who got it, U.S. health officials said Thursday. Preliminary figures suggest the vaccine is 47 percent effective in preventing flu illness severe enough to send someone to the doctor’s office. Health officials are generally pleased if a flu vaccine works in 40 to 60 percent of people. “These are early estimates, but they are encouraging,” said Dr. Alicia Fry of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Somewhere between 10,000 and 16,000 people have died from flu and its complications so far this season, according to new estimates released Thursday. Last winter was dominated by a nasty kind of flu, and the vaccine’s weakness against it was one reason it was the deadliest flu season in at least four decades. An estimated 80,000 Americans died of flu and its complications. This winter, in most parts of the country, most illnesses are being caused by a somewhat milder virus that vaccines tend to perform better against. Overall, flu is widespread in 47 states, according to the most recent CDC data. Health officials don’t know if flu season has peaked yet, Fry said.
  • As President Donald Trump on Friday announced a pair of executive actions and declared a national emergency to funnel more money into border security, lawmakers in both parties in Congress were left in the dark on how the Pentagon would deal with the largest part of the President’s declaration, carving $3.6 billion out of military construction projects authorized and funded by the U.S. House and Senate. “I strongly believe securing our border should not be done at the expense of previously funded military construction projects,” said Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH), whose district is home to Wright Patterson Air Force Base, which received $116 million in 2019 for construction of a new building for the National Air and Space Intelligence Center. “We certainly cannot allow him to rob our military of $3.5 billion for critical construction projects that serve our troops, support our allies, and deter our adversaries,” said Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI). Congress approved $10.3 billion for military construction for Fiscal Year 2019, doling out money to dozens of domestic and overseas military facilities, projects which are often prized as bring-home-the-bacon items for Democrats and Republicans alike in Congress. The list of military construction projects in each year’s budget runs the gamut of military needs – from an F-35 maintenance hangar at Camp Pendleton in California, to a training facility at the Mayport Naval Base near Jacksonville, Florida, to a reserve training center at Fort Benning in Georgia, to a dry dock facility at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, and much more. In all, military construction money was approved last fall by lawmakers for defense installations in 38 different states, and at least 14 overseas locations, some of those U.S. possessions. You can read through the list of projects from the bill here. A quick look at the list of military facilities with 2019 funding shows that many of them are located in House districts held by Republican lawmakers – who could find money for their local military project in jeopardy, as the President tries to funnel more money to his signature border wall. Democrats from around the country were quick to issue statements asking that their home state military construction projects be spared from any cuts, and challenging their GOP colleagues to do the same. Trump’s “National Emergency” strips billlions of dollars from base housing construction. Martha will you join me in opposing this farce? Who is more important the military spouses or your obedience to the President? https://t.co/Z56pZ9VRYr — Ruben Gallego (@RubenGallego) February 15, 2019 The President's unconstitutional action threatens to take money away from construction at Nellis Air Force Base, and local national security activities that keep Nevada families safe. I will support the House’s actions to restore order and protect Nevadans. — Rep. Steven Horsford (@RepHorsford) February 15, 2019 Since Trump reportedly plans to take money from existing military construction projects for his #nationalemergency, this could steal millions in approved & necessary funding away from the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. #mepolitics My full statement on his authoritarian power grab pic.twitter.com/djQdIcHmub — Chellie Pingree (@chelliepingree) February 15, 2019 The Pentagon and the White House had no answers for reporters on Friday on which military construction projects would be put on hold, whether from the 2019 budget, or from money approved by Congress, but not yet spent from previous years. “We would be looking at lower priority military construction projects,” a senior administration official told reporters on a Friday conference call before the President’s announcement. That official – and another senior White House official on the call – both downplayed the amount of money being taken from military construction, with one saying the budget was ‘substantially’ more than the $3.6 billion being diverted by the President. But that’s not the case. “I sit on the committee that funds Military Construction,” said Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) tweeted on Friday. “Trump is taking $3.5 billion out of the $10 billion that’s in the account. That’s 35%.” Earlier this month, the Republican chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee specifically said his biggest concern about an emergency would be taking money out of military construction, a point Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) emphasized again this week. “As I heard in a hearing yesterday, military housing and all military installations are facing disrepair and poor conditions,” Inhofe said. “We cannot afford to allow them to be further impacted.”