Surviving Winter: Winter Storm Severity Index

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To help understand how small amount, high impact snowfalls can cause more headaches than a storm that brings over a foot of snow, the National Weather Service has created a new tool. It is called the Winter Storm Severity Index.

The Index is broken down into six categories to help you understand the impacts of a winter storm. You have Blowing Snow, Flash Freeze, Ground Blizzard, Ice Accumulation, Snow Amount, and Snow Load. From there you can see with each storm if it will have no impact to you, minor, moderate, major, or extreme impacts.

Greg DeVoir, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service, explained, “We want people to understand what the specific impacts are for each system because each one is different and the impacts the decisions you can make to prepare to stay safe.

The National Weather service has partnered with emergency management, PEMA, and PennDOT to make sure with this index, it is clear on what to prepare for with each different type of winter storm event.

Mr. DeVoir said, “We tend to have so many mixed precipitation events, it can really help to see, ice and winds contributions for power outages, and also just the intensity of snow. Like duration, two inches of snow in an hour is a much higher impact than two inches in twelve hours.”

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