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Winter weather alerts — what do they mean?

Posted: 7:44 AM, Dec 07, 2016
Updated: 2016-12-07 11:09:44-05

A third of the United States is already covered in snow, and the entire country is about to plunge into an arctic freeze at the end of this week.

And remember, winter is still officially two weeks away.

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The northern third of the country has already seen everything from blizzard warnings to winter weather advisories.

The sheer volume of winter weather alerts the National Weather Service issues can be overwhelming, but they all mean slightly different things.

Advisories urge everyone under one to exercise caution. Watches are usually issued up to two days before a storm could affect an area. Warnings are typically issued a day and a half before a winter storm will hit, and that's when it's time to prepare for what weather is coming.

For a breakdown of all the winter weather alerts you could come across in the cold upcoming months, watch both of the videos below.

 

These winter weather situations are much more rare, and you're less likely to see them except in small portions of the United States:

Follow Storm Shield Meteorologist Jason Meyers via the Storm Shield app on Twitter , Facebook , and YouTube . Download the Storm Shield Weather Radio App for your iPhone or Android device and get severe weather alerts wherever you are. Named by Time.com one of the best weather apps for your iPhone.