Don’t be fooled. Despite September’s summerlike weather this week, the National Weather Service wants to simplify its lingo when it tells people that the bad and ugly of winter is on its way.
With more than 100 different watches, advisories and warnings used across the county, the weather service is simplifying some of these messages after listening to focus groups made up of “non-weather” people, said Todd Krause, meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Chanhassen.
“The idea was to narrow it down so it’s not so confusing,” he said.
The change of particular note in Minnesota is that a “blizzard watch” now will simply be called a winter storm watch. The freezing rain advisory becomes a winter weather advisory. For Great Lakes states affected by lake-effect storms, a lake effect snow watch becomes a winter storm watch. Likewise, a lake effect warning gets bundled into a winter storm warning.
The details of exactly what’s coming will still be part of the message, Krause said. “The details of whether it’s going to be freezing rain or sleet or whatever, those details are still within the winter weather advisories.”
“Shh! It’s too early to mention snow,” replied Twitter user EdinaMN Guy to the weather service’s tweet about the term changes.
Yeah, it may feel a bit early with Twin Cities temperatures hitting the mid-80s on Wednesday and nearly 90 degrees Thursday, up from the normal high of 73 degrees, Krause acknowledged.
“Winter is coming,” he said, laughing. “It’s not far away.”
The good news is that there’s no ice storm inour imminent future, Krause added.
Mary Lynn Smith • 612-673-4788
Some Simplified winter warnings
Winter Storm Watch
• Lake Effect Snow Watch
• Blizzard Watch
Issued for the potential of a significant winter weather event (heavy snow, sleet, ice, or blowing snow).
Winter Weather Advisory
• Lake Effect Snow Advisory
• Freezing Rain Advisory
Issued when snow, blowing snow, ice or sleet is expected but conditions should not be hazardous enough to meet warning criteria.
Winter Storm Warning
• Lake Effect Snow Warning (selected sites)
Issued when a significant winter weather event is expected (heavy snow, sleet, ice, or blowing snow).