Weather Wednesday: Winter Storm watches, warnings & advisories
Fresh snow collects on leaves in a yard in south Fargo on Tuesday, Oct. 20. David Samson / The Forum

Now that the 70s are behind us for the season, its time to start thinking about winter.

In the summer there are severe thunderstorm watches, tornado watches and their corresponding warnings.

In the winter there are watches and warnings as well, but they tend to last longer and are issued much earlier.

That is done because winter storms tend to move a lot slower and the atmosphere isn't as volatile.

Watches issued in the winter are often issued 36 to 48 hours ahead of the event. This is a heads up for planning purposes and for travel.


Think of it like a bull in a pen, you want to keep a watchful eye on it.

When the weather is looking more imminent, a watch can be upgraded to a warning.

They are normally issued 12-24 hours ahead of the wintry weather. When a warning is in effect you should be taking action.

This is as if the bull broke through the pen, it's a warning that there is a threat to lives and to property.

An advisory is issued when winter weather is going to be an inconvenience and you are advised to take precautions.

Just like in the summer months, watches, warnings and advisories are issued by the National Weather Service.

The StormTRACKER team will scroll the majority of these in the bottom of the TV screen when they are issued.

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