The National Weather Service Indianapolis office is implementing new Winter Storm Watch/Warning criteria for heavy snow this upcoming season.

Across the country, the NWS says the new Winter Storm Watch/Warning criteria is, “Part of a national effort to remove non-meteorological discontinuities across County Warning Areas (CWAs) and to better align with watch/warning snowfall criteria to the local climatology of the region.”

The new criteria for heavy snow will be 5 inches during a winter storm event for the NWS Indianapolis CWA. This will be for whenever a Winter Storm Watch or Warning is considered being issued. The criteria are different for other NWS offices in Indiana. For example, the northern portions of the Hoosier state will be under criteria of 6 inches and 4 inches for the southern portions.

Other hazards used for issuing Winter Storm Watches/Warnings remain unchanged. NWS says any combination of hazards with reduced criteria or increased public impacts can also result in a Winter Storm Watch/Warning being issued.

The NWS Indianapolis office says for our area, the heavy snowfall criteria used previously were partitioned into 12 and 24-hour criteria. With the new criteria moving forward, NWS meteorologists say this will no longer be dependent on the time frame of the snowfall. Rather, it will allow for a more event-driven approach to public messaging.

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