National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Winter Weather Forecasts and Warnings

Example of snowfall forecast information from the National Weather Service

The National Weather Service provides a variety of differnt forecast products and watches/warnings.

The latest forecasts for snowfall amounts, ice accumulations, and wind chills can be found on our Winter Weather page

A map that shows the winter weather watches and warnings in effect can be found on the front page of the National Weather Service Twin Cities web site

On the NWS Twin Cities web site, you can click anywhere on the front page map or enter a zip code in the upper left corner to get a forecast specific to a single location


Watch/Warning Definitions

Winter Storm Watch: Severe weather conditions, including heavy snow, blowing snow, freezing rain and/or sleet , may soon affect your area. If a watch is issued for your area, you should pay special attention to future forecasts and statements, and begin to make safety preparations.

Winter Storm Warning: Severe winter weather conditions are occurring or are imminent. Most warnings are issued for heavy snow and wind, but may also be issued for ice and sleet storms. If a warning is issued for your area you should take immediate action to ensure the appropriate safety precautions have been taken.

Blizzard Warning: Visibilities are reduced to less than 1/4 mile for several hours due to falling and/or blowing snow, making travel virtually impossible. The wind will be at least 35 mph.

Snow Squall Warning: An exceptionally rare warning that most typically applies to lake effect snow squalls, where visibility drops to near-zero. It is issued for one hour or less for a small area, and is relayed as a Wireless Emergency Alert.

Advisories: These are issued for conditions which warrant increased public awareness and moderately hamper travel, but where the weather is not severe enough to merit a warning.

Wind Chill: The cooling effect upon exposed skin, produced by the combination of temperature and wind. A copy of the Wind Chill Chart is available on our web site.