National Weather Service says so long to wind chill terminology

2011-11-07T13:03:00Z 2011-11-07T23:18:47Z National Weather Service says so long to wind chill terminologyBy BRIAN GEHRING | Bismarck Tribune Bismarck Tribune

The National Weather Service in Bismarck says it won't be issuing wind chill values this winter.

Instead, the weather service will issue "extreme cold" statements when the actual temperature and wind combine to make it feel like 30-35 below zero across a wide area for several hours.

Harlyn Wetzel, meteorologist for the weather service in Bismarck, said the change in delivering the winter weather information is an experiment of sorts and people can participate in an online survey to tell the service if they like the changes - or if they don't like them.

The survey can be found on the National Weather Service website or you can email comments to

Wetzel said one reason for the change is that many times in North Dakota, winter weather can be dangerously cold with little or no wind.

"In North Dakota, we have a lot of situations when the weather is extreme by any other standards than those of North Dakota," Wetzel said.

An "extreme cold watch" will be issued a day or two before the extreme cold conditions are possible and an "extreme cold warning" will be issued up to a day before.

Last weekend's predicted snowstorm, while only leaving about 2 inches of snow in the northwestern portion of the state, had the potential to be much worse with the wind.

Last March, more than 800 travelers around the state were stranded and the National Guard was called out when the spring break storm hit on a Friday, creating white-out conditions.

The National Weather Service issues watches, advisories and warnings for winter weather depending on the severity and timing of the weather.

A watch is issued when the potential for hazardous winter weather has increased, although the timing and location is uncertain.

An advisory is issued when there is high probability of hazardous winter weather or it's imminent of occurring.

Warnings are issued when hazardous winter weather is imminent or occurring and poses a threat to life or property.

The service defines conditions as a blizzard when visibility is reduced to less than a quarter-mile by snow or wind with sustained or frequent wind gusts of 35 mph for at least three hours.

Heavy snowfall accumulation is defined by the service as 6 or more inches in a 12-hour period or 8 or more inches in a 24-hour period.

Wetzel said if the forecast holds for the rest of this week, folks won't have to worry about advisories or warnings.

Highs temperatures for this week should be around normal for this time of year - low to mid-40s - with the chance to creep into the upper 40s, maybe 50, by Saturday.

"We have nothing anticipated ... nothing significant ... for the next five or six days," he said.

Reach reporter Brian Gehring 250-8254 or

Copyright 2015 Bismarck Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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