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3News Winter Weather Guide: What you need to know

What you need to know to be prepared for wintry weather in Northeast Ohio.
Winter (Photo: Getty Images/Think Stock Photos)

Welcome to the WKYC Winter Weather Guide for this season prepared by the 3News Weather Team of Chief Meteorologist Betsy Kling, Hollie Strano, Matt Wintz, Jason Frazer and Matt Standridge.

In this guide, you will find plenty of useful tips, information and videos we have prepared especially for you to keep your family safe when winter weather threatens northeast Ohio.

We know times will become tough thanks to the Lake Erie snow machine and those big winter storms that often pay us a visit through early Spring, so we want you to be "Weather Ready."

When storms strike, tune to 3News throughout the day or log on to wkyc.com for iAlerts and follow us on Twitter @wkycweather and on Facebook at facebook.com/WKYC.Channel3.Weather

Know The Winter Weather Terms

  • WINTER STORM WATCH: Conditions exist for the possible occurrence of severe winter weather such as blizzard conditions, heavy snow, significant freezing rain or heavy sleet. Usually issued 12 to 36 hours in advance of the winter storm.
  • WINTER STORM WARNING: Issued when heavy snow, significant freezing rain or heavy sleet is expected to occur. Usually issued 6 to 18 hours in advance of the winter storm.
  • WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY: A snowfall within 12 hours of usually 3 to 5 inches.
  • WIND CHILL ADVISORY: Wind chill temperatures are expected to be –10° to –25° Fahrenheit (F) for an extended period of time..
  • WIND CHILL WARNING: Issued for wind chills below –25° Fahrenheit (F) for an extended period of time.
  • FREEZING RAIN: Rain that freezes upon contact with a cold surface.
  • SLEET: Solid grains of ice that form from rain that freezes before reaching the ground. These pellets of ice tend to bounce upon contact and may accumulate enough to cover the ground, even to a depth of several inches.
  • DENSE FOG: Visibility is reduced to one quarter mile or less over a widespread area.
  • SNOW FLURRY: A brief instance of light snow with very little or no accumulation of snow on the ground.
  • SNOW SQUALL: An intense fall of accumulating snow reducing visibility significantly and often accompanied by increased winds.
  • SNOW BELT: In northeast Ohio, the higher ground east of Cleveland (primary) or the area south and southwest of Cleveland where heavy snow occurs from Lake Erie.
  • LAKE EFFECT SNOW: Snow that is generated from the lake and can be quite heavy over one area and non-existent in another area within a short distance.
  • HEAVY SNOW: 6 inches or more of snow in 24 hours for widespread snow and 6 inches in 12 hours for lake effect snow.


Remaining indoors protected from the elements is the safest place during a winter storm. The primary concern of indoor shelter is the potential loss of heat, power, telephone service and a shortage of supplies if the storm persists for more than a day. Keep the following available:

  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Battery powered NOAA weather radio and portable AM/FM radio
  • Extra food and water, especially high energy food that requires no cooking or refrigeration such as dried fruit and canned goods (Don't forget the non-electric can opener)
  • Medicine, First Aid supplies and ample baby supplies
  • Emergency heating source, such as a stocked fireplace, wood stove, or space heater
  • Smoke detector and fire extinguisher since the chance of fire increases dramatically using alternative heating!


About 70% of deaths during an ice or snow storm occur in a vehicle! If you wonder if you should attempt to travel, then don't! If you must travel, then allow extra time. Reduce your speed and do not attempt to make sudden turns or stops. Winterize the vehicle so it will be reliable. This includes a good set of tires. Other items necessary for the car or truck include:

  • Dry blanket(s) or sleeping bag
  • Extra dry clothing
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • High calorie, non-perishable food
  • Snow shovel, windshield scraper and brush
  • Booster cables
  • First Aid kit and a small container for water
  • Maps, compass, knife and water proof matches


Don't forget the animals during a winter storm! Most animal deaths during a storm are caused by dehydration from frozen water.

  • A temperature of 10° Fahrenheit (F) or below is too cold for any pet to tolerate. The physical stress of cold temperatures can make pets more susceptible to illness or infection.
  • Provide outdoor dogs and cats with a dry, insulated pet house or shelter out of the wind. Staying warm demands extra calories, so increase your pet's food intake (particularly protein).
  • Remove ice, salt and caked on mud from your pet's paws and coat right away. Contact your veterinarian immediately if you suspect your pet has frostbite. Frostbitten skin may turn reddish, white or gray and it may be scaly or sloughing.
  • Pets like the smell and taste of antifreeze, but even a small amount can kill them.
  • Don't use metal water dishes outside as your pets tongue could stick to the frozen metal.
  • Dogs confined to the house because of winter weather may lack proper exercise and suffer depression. Help by giving more attention and encouraging them to be active.

WKYC has many ways for you to stay connected with us before, during and after the storm both on-air and on-line.


3News is available on the following schedule every weekday:

  • 4:30 a.m. - 7:00 a.m. - 3News: GO!
  • 6:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. - 3News: What Matters Most at 6
  • 7:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. - 3News: Front Row at 7
  • 11:00 p.m. - 11:35 p.m. - 3News: What's Next at 11

3News is available on the following schedule every Saturday:

  • 5:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m. - 3News: GO! 
  • 8:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. - 3News: GO! 
  • 6:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. - 3News: What Matters Most at 6 
  • 11:00 p.m. - 11:30 p.m. - 3News: What's Next at 11 

3News is available on the following schedule every Sunday:

  • 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. - 3News: GO! 
  • 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. - 3News: GO! 
  • 6:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. - 3News: What Matters Most at 6 
  • 11:00 p.m. - 11:30 p.m. - 3News: What's Next at 11 



  • The WKYC Radar app is also available in the iTunes on Google Play stores with interactive radar, current conditions, the 10 day forecast and more. The app is particularly useful when the power goes out. 


  • You can follow the 3News Weather Team on our official weather Twitter account for regular storm updates found at @wkycweather


Channel 3 will keep your #3Weather Ready throughout the winter season. Be sure to watch on-air and on-line for constant updates whenever winter weather threatens.