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PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE GRAY ME 700 AM EST TUE OCT 27 2009
The National Weather Service offices that serve northern New England have declared the week of October 26th through October 30th...WINTER WEATHER AWARENESS WEEK. In conjunction with WINTER WEATHER AWARENESS WEEK...the National Weather Service Office in Gray will be issuing Public Information Statements concerning many aspects of winter weather and winter weather preparedness. This is the second in a series of five Public Information Statements to be issued this week.

...WATCH...WARNING...AND ADVISORY CRITERIA FOR WINTER STORMS... The National Weather Service issues WATCHES...WARNINGS...and ADVISORIES

to alert the public to potentially dangerous winter weather events or situations. While the exact criteria used to trigger these watches...warnings...and advisories varies throughout the United States...the following criteria are used in Maine and New Hampshire. Note that a WATCH is issued to alert the public that dangerous winter conditions are possible within the WATCHED area...generally within the next 12 to 36 hours. A WARNING is issued to alert the public that dangerous winter conditions are likely to occur in the WARNED area...generally within the next 12 to 24 hours...or are occurring. An ADVISORY is issued to alert the public that winter conditions are expected to cause a significant inconvenience and may be hazardous. If caution is exercised though...these situations should not be life threatening.

The following Winter Storm Criteria will be used for all of New Hampshire and western and southern Maine this winter:

BLIZZARD WARNING
Snow and/or blowing snow will combine with strong winds to produce near-zero visibility. Deep drifts and dangerous wind chill temperatures often accompany these conditions. The exact criteria used for these warnings include the following conditions which will persist for 3 hours or more. Sustained winds or frequent gusts to 35 mph or more...and falling and/or blowing snow which reduces visibilities to 1/4 mile or less.

WINTER STORM WARNING
Snow is expected to accumulate 6 inches or more across the area or freezing rain is expected to cause a glaze of 1/2 inch or thicker.

HEAVY SNOW WARNING
An average of 6 inches or more of snow/sleet is expected across the area.

ICE STORM WARNING
Freezing rain is expected to cause a glaze of ice 1/2 inch or thicker.

WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY
Snow is expected to accumulate to an average of at least 4 (but less than 6) inches...or freezing rain is expected to cause a glaze of ice on roads and sidewalks, but less than 1/2 inch is expected.

SNOW ADVISORY
An average of at least 4 (but less than 6) inches of snow/sleet is expected across the area.

FREEZING RAIN ADVISORY
Freezing rain is expected to cause a glaze of ice on roads and sidewalks, but less than 1/2 inch is expected.

While the National Weather Service does not issue warnings or advisories for storms that produce less than an average of 4 inches of snowfall...these storms can be deceptively dangerous to motorists. In terms of the deaths that are linked to the snow storms...the majority are as a result of traffic accidents...and many of those accidents occur with only small accumulations of snow. Slow down as soon as snow begins to accumulate.

PREPAREDNESS TIP FOR THE DAY:
Heavy wet snows or significant ice accumulations...especially when combined with wind...can cause trees or tree limbs to fall onto power lines. If you see these conditions beginning to develop in your area...prepare immediately for the possibility of a power outage. Particularly if you depend on a well for water...store an ample supply of water for both drinking and sanitary needs to last several days.

QUESTION OF THE DAY:
Does a blizzard warning mean that there will be more snow than a winter storm warning?

ANSWER:
Not necessarily. Blizzard warnings are issued for situations where the combination of snow and/or blowing snow...and wind will caused reduced visibilities (1/4 mile or less) for 3 hours or longer. This combination creates extremely hazardous conditions. While no minimum amount of snowfall is required for blizzard conditions...heavy snow...near zero visibility...deep drifts...and dangerous wind chills are often a part of these hazardous weather events. Here is a listing of the topics that have been or will be covered in Public Information Statements during WINTER WEATHER AWARENESS WEEK.
Monday...October 26 - Winter Weather Basics.
Tuesday...October 27 - WATCH...WARNING...and ADVISORY criteria for winter storms.
Wednesday...October 28 - Wind Chill...Extreme Cold...Frostbite...and Hypothermia. Thursday...October 29 - High Wind...Coastal Flood...and Dense Fog threats.
Friday...October 30 - Winter Weather Preparedness

JENSENIUS
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE
GRAY...MAINE
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