First Alert Weather In-Depth: Winter Storm Severity Index

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. As talked about in recent days, we have a very complicated storm and the News10NBC First Alert meteorologists are always looking for ways to simplify the communication of this kind of forecast.

One way to do this is by using a winter storm severity index. This index will group and weigh some of the possible storm elements to come up with a rating for likely impact in any one particular area of the country.

Naturally, this would include such ingredients as snow amounts, ice accumulation or blowing and drifting snow. But it also includes elements like a possible flash freeze or the weight of the snow. Right now, portions of the upper Midwest are showing a color of red on the color scale, and that is due to the emphasis on blizzard-like conditions in that part of the country.

If we advance this into Wednesday the colors of yellow migrate into the Upper Great Lakes, which means there is a little less intensity. And if we move this index through Thursday, that takes into Western New York and the intensity scale lowers even more to yellow and gray.

The color of yellow and gray for Rochester is due to the slushy, sloppy, heavy weighted snowfall found in our computer models. The reason for the diminished intensity is the storm no longer has elements of significant snowfall, high winds or ice accumulation.

I learned a long time ago as a young meteorologist that an effective forecast is also a simple forecast. If you want the latest on this storm forecast just click here.