As I watched a little television with my family tonight, I noticed something about what the local stations were informing us on the upcoming Winter Storm Watch. These stations were already showing a watch/warning graphic in the corner of the screen, and accompanying that was the informative crawl. The one station that I started with, I noticed that their crawl did not have the start time for the watch. It only said, “…until 9AM Saturday morning.” I thought to myself, “Well, that could be a little confusing.”
So I decided to check each news station in the Birmingham market, and each one said the same exact thing about the watch, “…until 9AM Saturday morning.” I turned the television set off and I headed over to my “Weather Workstation” at my desk in the den. I actually had a couple of questions asking, “When should I expect snow to start here in (town name)? The watch is for now, right?” So I gave my best answer that I could (for now) to the first question, but I definitely gave the correct answer for the second. “The watch actually doesn’t start until 6AM on Friday morning and goes until 9AM on Saturday morning.”
As you can see, the lack of correct information has already started some confusion within the community. I understand that the news channels are trying to convey the message to the audience that we will be under a Winter Storm Watch until 9AM on Saturday morning. As a weather community, we need to work together to get the message out precisely, especially if it is a message from the National Weather Service concerning what could be a temporary life-altering event.
Here’s my main point: The Winter Storm Watch is in effect starting at 6AM on Friday morning, and goes until 9AM on Saturday morning. Light snow could start as early as the watch goes into effect on Friday morning. At some point between now and Friday morning, the watch will probably be upgraded to a Winter Weather Advisory, which is actually a step up from the watch. Be sure to check the blog often for updates as we approach the event, as more forecast changes are a good possibility. We are also on Facebook and on Twitter. Be sure to like and follow us on those networks.