Winter Weather

We are no strangers to winter weather in Bemidji, but sometimes winter weather becomes severe, causing blizzards, blowing snow, whiteout conditions and making roads impassible. It is just as important to be prepared for what we think of as normal winter weather as it is to be prepared for a tornado.

Watch, Warning and Advisories

Advisories- Be Aware

  •  Winter Weather Advisories are issued when snow, blowing snow, ice, sleet, or a combination of these wintry elements is expected but conditions should not be hazardous enough to meet warning criteria. Be prepared for winter driving conditions and possible travel difficulties. Use caution when driving.
  • Freezing Rain Advisories are issued when light ice accumulation (freezing rain and/or freezing drizzle) is expected but will not reach warning criteria. Expect a glaze on roads resulting in hazardous travel. Slow down and use caution while driving because even trace amounts of ice on roads can be dangerous.

Watches- Be Prepared

  • Blizzard Watches are issued when there is a potential for falling and/or blowing snow with strong winds and extremely poor visibilities. This can lead to whiteout conditions and make travel very dangerous.
  • Winter Storm Watches are issued when conditions are favorable for a significant winter storm event (heavy sleet, heavy snow, ice storms, heavy snow and blowing snow or a combination of events)

Warnings- Take Action!

  • Blizzard Warnings are issued for frequent gusts greater than or equal to 35 mph accompanied by falling and/or blowing snow, frequently reducing visibility to less than 1/4 mile for three hours or more. A Blizzard Warning means severe winter weather conditions are expected or occurring. Falling and blowing snow with strong winds and poor visibilities are likely, leading to whiteout conditions making travel extremely difficult. Do not travel. If you must travel, have a winter survival kit with you. If you get stranded, stay with you vehicles and wait for help to arrive.
  • Winter Storm Warnings are issued for a significant winter weather event including snow, ice, sleet, or blowing snow or a combination of these hazards. Travel will become difficult or impossible in some situations. Delay your travel plans until conditions improve.
  • Ice Storm Warnings are usually issued for ice accumulation of around 1/4 inch or more. This amount of ice accumulation will make travel dangerous or impossible and likely lead to snapped power lines and falling tree branches. Travel is strongly discouraged.
Winter Travel

Whether you are travel to or from work, for work, or outside of work it is important to always have an emergency kit in your vehicle.

Additional Resources

Information for this page was taken from the National Weather Service.