What does a Winter Storm Warning or Winter Weather Advisory mean?

Weather News

As we deal with yet another round of wintry weather here in western Massachusetts you may wonder why some areas get Winter Storm Warnings or Winter Weather Advisories. There are specific criteria that separate a Winter Storm Warning vs a Winter Weather Advisory.

For the purposes of our recent storm these are the criteria:

A Winter Storm Warning is issued where there is the expectation of an average of at least 6″ or more of snow to fall over a forecast area in 12 hours or 12″ of snow in 24 hours.

Berkshire county must meet higher criteria in order for a warning to be issued.

For a Winter Weather Advisory the criteria is lower and we have these more frequently.

A Winter Weather Advisory gets issued when there is the expectation for an average of 3″ or more of snow to fall over a forecast area in 12 hours as long as the snowfall amounts don’t meet winter storm warning criteria.

Regardless of snow amount, Winter Weather Advisories are always issued if there’s the expectation of freezing rain or freezing drizzle unless you get enough snow with the ice to meet Winter Storm Warning criteria.

Hopefully that helps clear things up!


  1. Special Weather Statement: Western Franklin, Eastern Franklin, Western Hampshire, Eastern Hampshire
  2. Special Weather Statement: Western Hampden, Eastern Hampden
  3. Winter Storm Warning: Western Franklin, Eastern Franklin
  4. Winter Storm Watch: Western Franklin, Western Hampden, Eastern Hampden
  5. Winter Weather Advisory: Western Hampden, Eastern Hampden, Western Hampshire, Eastern Hampshire
  6. Winter Storm Warning: Northern Berkshire
  7. Winter Storm Warning: Southern Berkshire
  8. Special Weather Statement: Northern Berkshire, Southern Berkshire
  9. Wind Advisory: Northern Berkshire, Southern Berkshire

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