Winter Weather Awareness week

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(ABC 6 News) – Just over a month ago, the area saw its first snowfall of the new season. On Monday, we topped the one inch mark.

According to the National Weather Service, a winter weather advisory is when 2 to 4 inches of snow or any amount of freezing rain is in the forecast.

If the snowfall potential becomes 5 inches or more in 12 hours or 7 inches or more in 24 hours, it becomes a winter storm warning. A winter storm warning can also be issued when there is enough ice to damage trees or power lines.

The good news is we are not expecting winter storm conditions at this time, but that doesn’t mean you don’t want to be on high alert with this round of snow.

Michael Kurz is the Warning Coordination Meteorologist at the NWS in La Crosse; he mentioned why early snow systems like these are important to be weary of. “These early winter/snow events can be tricky or sneaky for people.”

This is especially true given that we got our first inch of snow sooner this year. Last year, it took us until December 7 before we saw our first inch of snow at Rochester international airport. Like with any year, it’s all an adjustment period.

Kurz mentions one area to be weary of in particular. “One of the things that often catches motorists off-guard is bridges and overpasses.”

Cold air is able to get above and beneath bridges and overpasses, which makes it easier to freeze and makes them more slick than regular roads or stretches of highway.

If you find yourself outside for extended periods cleaning up snow, not bundling up adequately can cause someone to become disoriented quickly (or even develop hypothermia), especially if they are overexerting themselves doing activities such as shoveling snow or playing in it.

Above all else, the biggest thing is to make sure to stay up to date on the forecast and also give yourself extra time on commutes in case you need to drive slower.

Just like during severe thunderstorms, it’s useful to have a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) weather radio or some way to receive alerts on your phone in the event a winter storm takes place.