National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Welcome to the Michigan
Winter Hazards Awareness Week webpage


Winter Hazards Awareness Week
Saturday, November 10th

  Day 7 - Understanding Winter Weather Terms


Today marks the conclusion of Winter Hazards Awareness Week in Michigan. The Michigan Committee for Severe Weather Awareness reminds all Michigan residents to pay heed to weather forecasts, advisories, watches, and warnings as they enter another winter season. There are a few winter weather terms described here to help in understanding those forecasts.

  • Winter Storm Watch: Severe winter conditions such as heavy snow and/or ice are possible within 12 to 48 hours. Prepare and make plans now.
  • Winter Storm Warning: Severe winter conditions have begun or are about to begin. Stay indoors.
  • Blizzard Warning: Snow and strong winds will combine to produce a blinding snow (near zero visibility), deep drifts, and life threatening wind chill. Seek refuge immediately.
  • Winter Weather Advisories: Winter weather conditions are expected to cause significant inconveniences and may be hazardous. Exercise caution, especially while driving. Winter Weather Advisories can be issued for a number of winter weather elements including snow, freezing rain, and lake effect snow.
  • Wind Chill Advisory: Wind chill temperatures of -15ºF to -24ºF for Southern Lower Michigan, -20ºF to -29ºF for Northern Lower Michigan, and -25ºF to -34ºF for the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
  • Wind Chill Warning: Wind chill temperatures of -25ºF or colder for Southern Lower Michigan, -30ºF or colder for Northern Lower Michigan, and -35ºF or colder for the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
  • Snow Squall Warning: An intense short duration burst of snow with gusty winds that reduces visibility to near zero along with sub-freezing ambient road temperatures or plunging temperatures sufficient to produce flash freezes on roads, especially on limited access highways.

For information on a winter weather preparedness, please visit the Michigan Winter Emergency Preparedness Page.

Be sure to listen to NOAA All-Hazards Weather Radio, or your favorite radio, TV, or cable TV station for the latest weather conditions and forecasts before venturing outdoors or traveling in the winter. In addition, always check the latest weather forecast at, and have a great winter!