More winter weather "advisories" ahead
Marylanders can expect more "winter weather advisories" in their future. It's not because winters will get worse. Rather, the National Weather Service's Sterling forecast office, which serves Central and Western Maryland and Northern Virginia, is changing its criteria for issuing the sloppy weather alerts, adding more alerts under lesser storm threats to high "public impact" areas.
Here's how it works:
In the past, forecasters have issued "Winter Weather Advisories" when they were at least 80 percent certain there was 2 to 5 inches of snow or sleet on the way within 12 hours. The advisories mean that hazardous winter weather is coming that "causes significant inconveniences ... and if caution is not exercised ... could lead to life-threatening situations."
Simple enough. Starting Monday, it gets more complicated.
In the future, ADDITIONAL "Winter Weather Advisories" will be issued for specific high-travel areas during rush hour periods when forecasters are at least 60 percent certain that there is 1 to less than 2 inches of accumulating snow or sleet en route during weekday morning or evening rush hours. Those rush hours are defined as 4 to 9 a.m. and 2 to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, federal holidays excepted.
Those "high-travel areas" include the I-95 corridor from Harford County, Md. to Spotsylvania County, Va.; inside and including the two urban beltways; the I-270 corridor from Montgomery County to Frederick County; the I-70 corridor westward as far as Frederick County; the I-66 corridor from Washington to Prince William County, Va.; and the Route 50 corridor from Arundel to PG County.
Got that? There will be a quiz in the morning.