5 Winter Weather Terms You Should Know

It’s Memphis, okay? The Mid-South. Not the 70s and 80s weather of south Florida in the winter but still, not the frozen tundra that Green Bay, Wisconsin is in the winter.

We hear from people who think that since we’re in the Mid-South, we don’t get any really harsh winter weather … yet we do.

So before the bad weather hits, review these weather terms you should know:

1. Winter Storm Watch: This means a winter storm could possibly hit in our metropolitan area as well as surrounding rural areas around Memphis. Tune in to a NOAA Weather Radio, any of the local commercial radio stations (and we have plenty of good ones that keep their listeners informed on weather conditions) or any of our local television stations, (they, too, do a fantastic job keeping us viewers updated on weather conditions), for details.

2. Winter Storm Warning: This means a winter storm is going to hit in our metropolitan area as well as surrounding rural areas around Memphis, so get prepared!

3. Freezing Rain: This is rain that freezes when it hits the ground, creating a coating of ice on roads, walkways, trees, and power lines. This also means you’ll be at risk for slipping and falling, so be extremely careful when the sleet starts to fall. Build-up happens quickly and it is almost imperceptible on sidewalks in the first few thin layers which is when most people slip and fall.

4. Sleet: This is rain that turns to ice pellets before reaching the ground. Sleet also causes moisture on roads and walkways to freeze and become slippery.

5. Frost/Freeze Warning: This means below freezing temperatures are expected. When this occurs, the number one problem in Memphis is often bursting water pipes, especially from the outside water spigots on your house. Always disconnect your water hose from your outdoor spigot in the winter before the temperature drops below freezing. The water inside the hose can freeze, and the freezing continues back into the spigot until it reaches your pipes. Any pipe that freezes can burst. Any of the home stores such as Lowe’s, Home Depot, or Ace Hardware carry spigot covers that are cheap ($0.99 to $3-4 dollars) and easy to install over your outdoor spigots, and this is a lot less than calling the plumber to repair frozen and bursted water pipes.

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