Understanding Weather Terms

By: Josh Fitzpatirck Email
By: Josh Fitzpatirck Email

(WSAZ) -- From 60 degree weather, to rain, snow and cold, we've seen it all in the past few weeks. Our Meteorologist Josh Fitzpatrick has received all kinds of e-mails about the many different types of weather we've seen lately.

Mother Nature for the most part has nickled and dimed us with mainly light snowfalls so far this winter season. Most of the time, we have only been forecasting flurries, snow showers and light snow. One interesting questions Josh recently received has to with snow terms.

Angie from Portsmouth wrote asking what are the definitions or differences in flurries, snow showers, light snow, heavy snow and a blizzard. Are there certain criteria in forecasting each? The simple answer is yes.

Flurries are forecast when only a few light snow flakes are expected to fall in a given time. They usually don't accumulate very much. Snow showers are forecast when we expect mostly off and on periods of mainly light snow.

Snow squalls are heavy snow showers which reduce visibilities and can drop a quick inch in a short period of time. Light snow is simply just that, light snow with visibilities greater than a mile. Moderate to heavy snow on the other hand is snow with visibility less than one mile.

The criteria for a blizzard is considerable falling snow and or blowing snow which reduces visibility to 1/4 of a mile or less and sustained winds of 35 mph or greater. These conditions must last at least three hours. One of the last true blizzards to affect our region was all the way back in January of 1996.

Remember your weather is always right here on our web channel wsaz.com. If you have a weather related question for Meteorologist Josh Fitzpatrick, simply shoot him an email to josh.fitzpatrick@wsaz.com and if you're lucky, Josh will read and answer your question on First at Five.

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