National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

SEVERE THUNDERSTORM - a thunderstorm which produces:

hail 1 inch or greater

winds greater than 58 mph

damage to trees, telephone/utility poles or any structure

tornado

 

SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH - issued by the Storm Prediction Center when severe thunderstorms are possible in and near the watch area (box). The watch is issued for a large area and is usually in effect for several hours.

 

SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING - issued by your local NWS Forecast Office when severe weather is imminent or occurring and is usually in effect for about an hour.

 

TORNADO - a funnel-shaped cloud extending downward from the base of a severe thunderstorm which is rapidly rotating and comes into contact with the ground or any objects on the ground.

 

TORNADO WATCH - issued by the Storm Prediction Center when severe thunderstorms may produce tornadoes and near the watch area (box). The watch is issued for a large area and is usually in effect for several hours.

 

TORNADO WARNING - issued by your local NWS Forecast Office when a tornado is imminent or occurring and is usually in effect for 45 minutes or less.

 

FUNNEL CLOUD - a funnel-shaped cloud extending downward from the base of a thunderstorm which is rapidly rotating and does NOT come into contact with the ground or objects on the ground.

 

WATERSPOUT - a tornado that occurs over the waters.

FLOOD WATCH (BE PREPARED) - issued by your local NWS Forecast Office when conditions are favorable for flooding. It does not mean flooding will occur, but it is possible.

 

FLASH FLOOD WARNING (TAKE ACTION) - issued by your local NWS Forecast Office when flooding is imminent or occurring. If you are in a flood prone area move immediately to high ground. A flash flood is a sudden violent flood that can take from minutes to hours to develop. It is even possible to experience a flash flood in areas not immediately receiving rain.

 

FLOOD WARNING (TAKE ACTION)  - issued by your local NWS Forecast Office when flooding is imminent or already happening.

 

FLOOD ADVISORY (BE AWARE) - issued by your local NWS Forecast Office when flooding is not expected to be bad enough to issue a warning. However, it may cause significant inconvenience, and if caution is not exercised, it could lead to situations that may threaten life and/or property.

 

CATEGORIES:

MINOR FLOODING - minimal or no property damage, but possibly some public threat or inconvenience.

 

MODERATE FLOODING - some inundation of structures and roads near streams/rivers; some evacuations of people and/or transfer of property to higher ground elevations necessary.

 

MAJOR FLOODING - extensive inundation of structures and roads; significant evacuations of people and/or transfer of property to higher elevations.

HEAT INDEX - what the temperature feels like to the human body based on both the air temperature and humidity.

 

HUMIDITY - the measured amount of moisture in the air.
 

EXCESSIVE HEAT WATCH - issued by your local NWS Forecast Office when it is possible for the heat index to be at or above 105 degrees for two or more hours.

 

EXCESSIVE HEAT WARNING- issued by your local NWS Forecast Office when extremely dangerous heat conditions are expected. Specifically for heat indices of 105+ degrees for two or more hours.

 

HEAT ADVISORY - issued by your local NWS Forecast Office  when dangerous heat conditions are expected.

AIR QUALITY ALERT - is issued by individual states and your local NWS Forecast Office relays the information via the Air Quality Alert (AQA) product.

 

AIR QUALITY FORECAST  - NWS

TROPICAL DEPRESSION - an organized area of low pressure where sustained surface winds are 38 mph or less.

 

TROPICAL STORM - a strong area of low pressure associated with maximum sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph. It is at this point a tropical cyclone gets a name.

 

HURRICANE - maximum sustained winds of 74 mph or greater.

 

HURRICANE WATCH - an announcement that hurricane conditions are possible within the specified area. Because outside preparedness activities become difficult once winds reach tropical storm force, watches are issued 48 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds.

 

HURRICANE WARNING - an announcement that hurricane conditions are expected within the specified area. Because outside preparedness activities become difficult once winds reach tropical storm force, warnings are issued 36 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds.

 

TROPICAL STORM WATCH - an announcement that tropical-storm conditions are possible within the specified area . Because outside preparedness activities become difficult once winds reach tropical storm force, watches are issued 48 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds.

 

TROPICAL STORM WARNING -  an announcement that tropical-storm conditions are expected within the specified area. Because outside preparedness activities become difficult once winds reach tropical storm force, warnings are issued 36 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds.

 

HURRICANE LOCAL STATEMENT - issued by your local NWS Forecast Office. NWS Albany can only issue this for Litchfield and Berkshire counties.

 

STORM SURGE is an abnormal rise of water generated by a storm, over and above the predicted astronomical tides.

 

STORM SURGE WATCH: An announcement of the possibility of life-threatening inundation from rising water moving inland from the shoreline somewhere within the specified area, generally within 48 hours, in association with a tropical, subtropical, post-tropical, or potential tropical cyclone.

 

STORM SURGE WARNING: An announcement of the danger of life-threatening inundation from rising water moving inland from the shoreline somewhere within the specified area, generally within 36 hours, in association with a tropical, subtropical, post-tropical, or potential tropical cyclone.

 

Western Atlantic Hurricane Tracking Chart  - NHC

WIND - the movement of air from areas of higher pressure to areas of lower pressure. The greater the difference in pressure the stronger the winds. Wind direction is defined by the direction it is coming from.

 

HIGH WIND WATCH - issued by your local NWS Forecast Office when sustained wind speeds of 40 mph or greater lasting for one hour or longer or for winds of 58 mph or greater for any duration or widespread damage are possible.

 

HIGH WIND WARNING - issued by your local NWS Forecast Office when sustained wind speeds of 40 mph or greater lasting for one hour or longer or for winds of 58 mph or greater for any duration or widespread damage are expected.

 

WIND ADVISORY - issued by your local NWS Forecast Office when sustained wind speeds of 31 to 39 mph lasting for one hour or longer or for winds of 46 to 57 mph for any duration are expected.

BLIZZARD WARNING - issued by your local NWS Forecast Office when snow and strong winds will combine to produce blinding snow (visibility near zero / whiteouts) and deep snow drifts.

 

ICE STORM WARNING - issued by your local NWS Forecast Office when 1/2 inch or more of ice accretion are expected.

 

WINTER STORM WATCH - issued by your local NWS Forecast Office when severe winter conditions are possible.

 

WINTER STORM WARNING - issued by your local NWS Forecast Office when severe winter conditions are expected. 

 

12-hour Criteria for snow and sleet:

  • 6+ inches for Litchfield, Berkshire, Bennington & Windham counties

  • 7+ inches for Albany, Columbia, Dutchess, Fulton, Greene, Hamilton, Herkimer, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schoharie, Schenectady, Ulster Washington & Warren counties

24-hour Criteria for snow and sleet:

  • 8+ inches for Litchfield and Berkshire counties

  • 9+ inches for Albany, Columbia, Dutchess, Fulton, Greene, Hamilton, Herkimer, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schoharie, Schenectady, Ulster Washington, and  Warren counties as well as Bennington & Windham counties

WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY - issued by your local NWS Forecast Office when winter conditions are expected to cause significant inconvenience and may be hazardous.

 

Snow and/or Sleet Criteria:

  • 3 inches for Litchfield and Berkshire counties 

  • 4 inches for Albany, Columbia, Dutchess, Fulton, Greene, Hamilton, Herkimer, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schoharie, Schenectady, Ulster Washington and Warren counties as well as Bennington & Windham counties

Freezing Rain & Freezing Drizzle Criteria: any accretion of ice less than a 1/2 inch

 

WINTRY MIX  - a mixture of snow, sleet and/or freezing rain

 

LAKE EFFECT SNOW WARNING - issued by your local NWS Forecast Office when lake induced snows of 7+ inches are expected.

WIND CHILL what the temperature feels like on human based on both air temperature and wind speed.

 

WIND CHILL ADVISORY - issued by your local NWS Forecast Office when potentially dangerous wind chill readings are expected.

  • 15 to 24 degrees below zero: Berkshire, Columbia, Dutchess, Greene, Litchfield & Ulster counties

  • 20 to 29 degrees below zero: Albany, Bennington, Fulton, Hamilton, Herkimer, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schoharie, Schenectady, Washington, Warren & Windham counties

WIND CHILL WATCH - issued by your local NWS Forecast Office when life-threatening wind chill readings are possible.

 

WIND CHILL WARNING - issued by your local NWS Forecast Office when life-threatening wind chill readings are expected.

 

  • 25 degrees below zero or lowerBerkshire, Columbia, Dutchess, Greene, Litchfield & Ulster counties

  • 30 degrees below zero or lower: Albany, Bennington, Fulton, Hamilton, Herkimer, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schoharie, Schenectady, Washington, Warren & Windham counties

FROST ADVISORY - issued by your local NWS Forecast Office when widespread frost is expected during the growing season.

 

FREEZE WARNING - issued by your local NWS Forecast Office when temperatures of 32 degrees or below are expected over an extensive area for a significant period of time (several hours) during the growing season.

 

GROWING SEASON INFORMATION

Frost-Freeze Data for specific locations - 1981-2010 Normals

Start & End Dates for Albany - dating back to 1874