National Weather Service makes changes to winter weather alerts

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) —This week was winter weather awareness week in New York State. The National Weather Service wants you to be prepared when the white stuff start falling, and ironically we saw some of that already this week.

Buffalo is no stranger to snow. But unlike a lot of other cities, there are a few different types we experience here. Sometimes snow moves in as part of a large system. Other times it forms off of the Great Lakes. You at home know this all too well as lake effect snow.

When trying to convey the difference to the public it can get a bit complicated and frankly takes up a lot of the limited time local meteorologists already have in a newscast. The National Weather Service is trying to change that. We want you to be aware of the updates that are being made in order to simplify the way you hear and see your weather forecast.

A freezing rain advisory will now be combined into the winter weather advisory grouping.

Instead of calling attention to a lake effect snow watch or a blizzard watch, both will now fall under the winter storm watch category.

Lake effect snow warnings, a bit more urgent of an alert compared to a watch, will now be added under the same umbrella as a winter storm warning.

These consolidations will not change the way we forecast, but it will change the way you at home receive the message. And getting the message out clearly and concisely is the most important part of a forecast. So remember this winter, when you see ice and snow, take it slow.

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