As the Winter months approach, the National Weather Service kicked off its Winter Weather Awareness Week Sunday! Each day of the week will be designated to discuss winter safety and winter preparedness. The awareness week will wrap up this Saturday the 19th.
The frequency of winter weather in Alabama and Tennessee is small but when it occurs it can cause significant property damage, injury, and even death. Preparation before a winter weather event is key to protecting yourself and your property. During the winter months, many of us are out traveling especially during the Holiday season. Before heading out it is always important to check the weather forecast for any potential hazards you may encounter during your trip
During the Winter Season, the types of wintry precipitation are not the only hazard we can see. Have you ever noticed that when it is breezy temperatures feel colder during the winter? This is known as the wind chill and is determined by the combination of temperature and wind speed. The layer of heat generated from our bodies keeps us warm, but when winds are gusty it pushes the heat away from our bodies making us feel colder. Referencing the wind chill chart above, a temperature of 10 degrees can easily feel below zero with a wind speed of 10 mph. The lower the wind chill value, the faster frostbite, and hypothermia can occur.
We can see any type of precipitation across the Tennessee Valley during the winter. As precipitation falls to the ground it goes through different levels of the atmosphere and sometimes the temperatures at these levels are different. This will lead to different forms of precipitation we see at the surface.
The three main weather alerts are a Winter Weather Advisory, Winter Storm Watch, and a Winter Storm Warning. These alerts are all issued by the local National Weather Service in Huntsville ahead of a winter weather event that could cause hazardous conditions.