If you pay enough attention to the National Weather Service forecasts, you eventually figure out the differences among advisories, watches and warnings. Not everyone pays that much attention, though, so the NWS is contemplating rewording these particular “products” and has announced that there will be trials of newer versions, issued alongside the traditional ones, during the winter months.
In case you have a 50-percent chance of haze on the subject, this is what we get now:
Forecasters issue a Watch when they believe there is the potential for a significant hazard to occur, but its occurrence, location, and/or timing is still uncertain. The term Advisory is used for imminent hazards that only merit caution, in other words, that are not implicitly dangerous, but could become dangerous if caution is not exercised. The term Warning is used when a dangerous hazard is imminent or already occurring.
This might be manageable were there only the three levels to deal with, but in fact, there are fourteen possible winter “products.”
The testing will take place in areas that usually get a lot of snow — and in Hawaii, where several mountains on the Big Island may end up with snow caps despite their tropical-ish location.