SEATTLE — With all of the snow that’s hit our region in the last week and with more coming in the next few days, here are five things to know about winter weather forecasts.
1. Snow or ice totals can vary greatly over short distances.
A heavy snow band may form, which can drop more snow in one area while a location only a few miles away may get much less. For example, during last weekend's snowstorm, Lake Stevens got 12 inches of snow, but Seattle got just 2.5 inches, according to the National Weather Service.
2. Winter forecasts can change quickly.
As new data becomes available from weather models, the forecast can change. This can lead to changes in weather predictions that may result in different outcomes.
3. Impacts are more important than details.
Rather than focusing on the exact temperature to the nth degree, focus on how winter weather events as a whole will impact the region and your community.
4. Know winter weather terminology.
These three definitions from the National Weather Service are some of the common ones seen in our region during winter months.
Winter storm warning: This is issued when significant or hazardous weather is occurring or imminent. Hazardous or significant weather is defined as 5 or more inches of snow or sleet within a 12-hour period, or 7 or more inches of snow or sleet within a 24-hour period.
Winter storm watch: This is issued when significant or hazardous winter weather is possible within 48 hours. It does not mean that the significant or hazardous weather will happen though.
Winter storm advisory: This can be issued whenever there is freezing rain, or 2-4 inches of snow is expected to cause significant inconvenience but is not enough to warrant a winter storm warning.
5. Rely on a dependable source for weather – like the KING 5 weather team!