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What criteria goes into issuing a winter storm warning?

A winter storm warning is in effect for much of central Indiana until 1 a.m. Friday, but what does that mean?
Winter Storm Warning
Posted at 4:57 PM, Feb 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-02 16:59:07-05

INDIANAPOLIS — A winter storm warning has been issued for much of central Indiana until 1 a.m. Friday due to severe weather moving across the area.

Here's a breakdown of what that actually means.

The National Weather Service in Indianapolis has specific criteria when it issues a winter storm guidance in central Indiana.

The conditions for a winter weather advisory differ from those of a winter storm warning which also differ from the criteria required for a blizzard warning.

Winter Weather Advisory for Snow:

• 3 to 5 inches in 12 hours, optional for 2 to 4 inches

Winter Storm Warning for Heavy Snow:

• 6 inches or more in 12 hours or less

• 8 inches or more in 24 hours or less

Blizzard Warning:

• Sustained wind or frequent gusts to 35 miles an hour or greater; and considerable falling and or blowing snow.

Ice Storm Warning:
• An ice accumulation of 1/4 inch or more on all surfaces.

The NWS also takes into account the impact the snow and ice will have on Hoosiers.

For example, a weather event impacting rush hour on a weekday might have different guidance than a weather event arriving in the overnight hours on a weekend, according to WRTV Meteorologist Kyle Mounce.

"If we were to get 2 inches of snow on a Sunday morning, they may not issue an advisory. However, if 2 inches of snow is expected to fall during the Monday morning commute, it’s likely that an advisory would be issued," Mounce said.