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What is the Winter Storm Severity Index?

27 Jan 2021, 12:05 pm

When there are big weather events happening across the country, you might see us show you on WeatherNation a map that looks like this:

The Winter Storm Severity Index, or WSSI, is put together by NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center and it’s a new tool for us to use to help make you more aware of how different types of winter weather could impact your day-to-day routine.  The information that goes into making these maps is based on what is in the forecast and does not include weather prior to the date (s) specified. It’s important to note that this does not show watches, warnings, or advisories but serves as an additional way we can convey the severity of a weather event anywhere from one to three days in advance.

Just like when we talk about levels with severe weather outlooks from the Storm Prediction Center, there are also different levels on the WSSI scale ranging from little to no impact from a winter weather event up to major to extreme impacts where you will need to take action to protect life and property.

There are different components that will highlight the type of weather that will contribute to the impacts forecast for the area.  This includes snow totals/rates, the weight of the snow, blowing snow, ground blizzard conditions, ice accumulation, and events where temperatures plummet below freezing after a storm system moves through.

We will label this for you on the map to let you know what kind of hazards you need to prepare for as shown in this example below:


About the author
Meredith is a Certified Broadcast Meteorologist as designated by the American Meteorological Society.  She was born and raised in Cleveland but has worked from coast to coast covering almost every type of weather.  Meredith is a weather, space, and STEM journalist and has been live out in the field during destructive tropical storms on the Gulf Coast of Florida, raging wildfires in Southern Cali... Load Morefornia, and covered the wreckage from tornadoes in the Great Plains. In 2009, she reported on the damaging hail storm during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and in 2017, the historic California winter storms that produced record rain totals and devastating flash flooding.  Prior to joining WeatherNation, Meredith worked at KEYT/KKFX in Santa Barbara, CA, KOTA-TV in Rapid City, SD, WWSB-TV in Sarasota, FL, and began her career as an intern at WGN-TV in Chicago.  She was Santa Barbara's "Favorite Weathercaster of the Year" in 2016 and the Community Partner of the Year in 2017 for her volunteer work with Make-A-Wish Tri-Counties and awarded with the 2018 Valparaiso University Alumni Association First Decade Achievement Award. Meredith is the current chair of the American Meteorological Society's Station Scientist Committee, which focuses on raising greater awareness & outreach when it comes to science education for viewers.  She's also an accomplished journalist, producing weather and science stories including rocket launches at Vandenberg Air Force Base and the new GOES-16 satellite and it's impacts on weather forecasting.  Meredith was personally invited by NASA's Johnson Space Center to interview astronauts on the International Space Station and was the only meteorologist in the nation to do an exclusive report accompanying the GOES-West satellite from Colorado to Florida, reporting on and covering it's launch in 2018.  Meredith's also worked on features that took her paragliding along the coast, white water rafting in Northern California, learning to surf in the Pacific Ocean, and how to be an aerial photographer while flying a single engine plane! Say hi on Facebook, Twitter, & LinkedIn!