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Know your winter weather terms

The National Weather Service urges residents to keep abreast of local forecasts and warnings and familiarize themselves with key weather terminology.

Winter Storm Warning:  Issued when hazardous winter weather in the form of heavy snow, heavy freezing rain, or heavy sleet is imminent or occurring. Winter Storm Warnings are usually issued 12 to 24 hours before the event is expected to begin.

Winter Storm Watch:  Alerts the public to the possibility of a blizzard, heavy snow, heavy freezing rain, or heavy sleet. Winter Storm Watches are usually issued 12 to 48 hours before the beginning of a Winter Storm.

Winter Storm Outlook:  Issued prior to a Winter Storm Watch. The Outlook is given when forecasters believe winter storm conditions are possible and are usually issued 3 to 5 days in advance of a winter storm.

Blizzard Warning:  Issued for sustained or gusty winds of 35 mph or more, and falling or blowing snow creating visibilities at or below ¼ mile; these conditions should persist for at least three hours.

Lake Effect Snow Warning:  Issued when heavy lake effect snow is imminent or occurring.

Lake Effect Snow Advisory:  Issued when accumulation of lake effect snow will cause significant inconvenience.

Wind Chill Warning:  Issued when wind chill temperatures are expected to be hazardous to life within several minutes of exposure.

Wind Chill Advisory:  Issued when wind chill temperatures are expected to be a significant inconvenience to life with prolonged exposure, and, if caution is not exercised, could lead to hazardous exposure.

Winter Weather Advisories:  Issued for accumulations of snow, freezing rain, freezing drizzle, and sleet which will cause significant inconveniences and, if caution is not exercised, could lead to life-threatening situations.

Dense Fog Advisory:  Issued when fog will reduce visibility to ¼ mile or less over a widespread area.

Snow Flurries:  Light snow falling for short durations. No accumulation or light dusting is all that is expected.

Snow Showers:  Snow falling at varying intensities for brief periods of time. Some accumulation is possible.

Snow Squalls:  Brief, intense snow showers accompanied by strong, gusty winds. Accumulation may be significant. Snow squalls are best known in the Great Lakes region.

Blowing Snow:  Wind-driven snow that reduces visibility and causes significant drifting. Blowing snow may be snow that is falling and/or loose snow on the ground picked up by the wind.

Sleet:  Rain drops that freeze into ice pellets before reaching the ground. Sleet usually bounces when hitting a surface and does not stick to objects. However, it can accumulate like snow and cause a hazard to motorists.

Freezing Rain:  Rain that falls onto a surface with a temperature below freezing. This causes it to freeze to surfaces, such as trees, cars, and roads, forming a coating or glaze of ice. Even small accumulations of ice can cause a significant hazard.

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News

  • An Atlanta middle school student was taken to the hospital Wednesday after ingesting a “controlled substance,” according to school officials. The Young Middle School student was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital, Atlanta Public Schools spokeswoman Kimberly Willis Green said. The call came in about 2:50 p.m., officials said.  The APS Police Department is investigating the incident, Green said.  Other students were evaluated to see if they ingested the substance, Channel 2 Action News reported.  Parents of affected students were notified immediately, APS spokeswoman Pat St. Claire said. All parents are expected to get a robocall.  In other news:
  • Tasharina Fluker and her daughter had just gotten to their Lithonia townhome Wednesday morning from celebrating the mother’s birthday. No less than an hour after they arrived, police say Fluker’s boyfriend, Michael Thornton, shot and killed her and daughter Janazia Miles.  A family member found one of them in the middle of the doorway and Miles’ 8-month-old son unharmed, Channel 2 Action News reported. It is not known how the relative entered the home.  Police were called to the scene about 3 a.m. after getting a person-down call on the 2000 block of Parkway Trail. The women were found with “no signs of life,” DeKalb police Lt. Rod Bryant said.  Thornton was later found at another location, police said. They have not described his relationship to the women, but neighbors said Thornton and Fluker were in a relationship and lived at the home. Neighbor Trocon Talhouk told Channel 2 he heard the couple arguing in the middle of the night.  “He kept saying: ‘All I want to do is get in the house,’” Talhouk said. “And then, shortly after that, I heard a car speed off and (the) next thing you know fire trucks and police cars were pulling up.”  It wasn’t the first time neighbors had heard domestic incidents at the home, Talhouk said.  “According to neighbors, (the two) fight all the time and he’s always beating (her),” he told Channel 2.  Fluker also leaves behind two sons — one in middle school and another who attends Grambling State University on a football scholarship he earned while playing for Miller Grove High School, the station reported. Police have not released other details.  In other news:
  • The grandmother of a Gwinnett County toddler who died after being hit by a car in front of her house was arrested in connection with the incident, police said Wednesday. Gilma J. Ordonez-Guevara, 44, of Lawrenceville, is charged with vehicular homicide, hit-and-run, obstruction of a law enforcement officer and not having a license, Cpl. Michele Pihera said. Ordonez-Guevara was booked into the Gwinnett County Jail on Tuesday, Pihera said. She also is on an immigration hold by the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, according to jail records. Ordonez-Guevara, who lives in the same Lawrenceville neighborhood as the toddler, initially denied being involved, police said. However, after investigators searched her SUV, evidence conflicted with her previous statements. Based on the second interview, police learned she hit the toddler, 23-month-old Valeria Leiba, as she was backing out of the driveway in the 1000 block of Memory Lane. Ordonez-Guevara did not know the child was behind her SUV, according to police. After the incident, Ordonez-Guevara carried her granddaughter inside the child’s home, got back in her SUV and drove to her own house. She left her SUV in the driveway and walked back to her granddaughter’s home. RELATED: Gwinnett toddler dies after being hit by car “There are not enough words to help bring solace to the victim’s family during such a tragic loss,” Pihera said. “We want the family to know that many people in Gwinnett and the surrounding communities are thinking of them during this difficult time.” In other news:
  • U.S. Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch vowed to uphold the law if confirmed to the nation’s highest court, not tipping his hand as he sidestepped controversial political subjects, as Gorsuch directly pushed back against President Donald Trump’s criticism of federal judges. “When anyone criticizes the honesty or integrity, the motives of a federal judge, I find that disheartening; I find that demoralizing,” Gorsuch said in response to questions from Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT). “Anyone including the President of the United States?” Blumenthal pressed. “Anyone is anyone,” Gorsuch replied. In a day of testimony that stretched for almost twelve hours, Gorsuch parried most questions from Democrats, who tried in vain to get him to reveal his views on issues like abortion, and items that might come before the Supreme Court, like President Trump’s travel ban. Gorsuch repeatedly refused to take the bait. “I can’t get involved in politics, and I think it would be very imprudent of judges to start commenting on political disputes,” Gorsuch said. Under questioning from Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Gorsuch was asked what he had discussed with President Trump on the issue of abortion. “In that interview did he ever ask you to overrule Roe v Wade?” Graham asked. “No, Senator,” Gorsuch replied, adding that if the President had asked that question, “I would have walked out the door.” Gorsuch was pressed about the President in a number of different ways, telling Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) that, “nobody is above the law in this country, and that includes the President of the United States.” With Republicans strongly in support of Gorsuch, there was already maneuvering behind the scenes over the expected floor fight in the Senate, as Democrats have made clear they think the GOP should be forced to get 60 votes for his nomination. That has prompted GOP leaders to criticize the threat of a filibuster. “If there aren’t 60 votes for a nominee like Neil Gorsuch it’s appropriate to ask the question is there any nominee any Republican president could make that Democrats would approve,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Gorsuch’s lengthy day of testimony ended on a light note, as Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) suggested to Gorsuch that he have a cocktail before bed. “Just don’t drink vodka,” Kennedy said to chuckles from the audience. Kennedy then drew even more laughter by adding in one more surprise. “You never been to Russia, have you?” “I’ve never been to Russia,” a smiling Gorsuch said.