NWS stresses importance of warnings - KMSP-TV

NWS stresses importance of warnings

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The National Weather Service says a winter storm warning in Atlanta needs to be taken as seriously as a hurricane warning on the coast.

Keith Stellman of the NWS said that preparations need to begin after a watch is issued.

"You prepare during the watch phase and get ready for when that warning comes," Stellman said. "If you try to take action after that warning has started, you are risking it."

The National Weather Service first issues a winter storm watch. That means two inches of snow, a quarter inch of freezing rain or a half an inch of sleet. An advisory is next, and that means that there is about an 80 percent chance that we are going to get that dangerous winter weather.  

A warning is basically that the weather service has a high confidence that it is coming and will make travel dangerous.  

During a winter storm warning, the weather service advises to travel only during emergencies. And if you have to travel, carry items such as a flashlight, extra clothing and water.

The weather we saw this week put thousands of people at risk because they were traveling during a winter storm warning on roads the weather service had predicted would be bad.

"When you are talking about getting stuck on the roads and being caught out in this sort of thing…if you can avoid it all together, you will be much better in the end," said Stellman.

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