A Special Weather Statement is a message issued by the National Weather Service to highlight significant weather conditions that are expected to occur.
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What is a Special Weather Statement?
A Special Weather Statement is issued when a significant weather event is expected to occur, but its timing or exact track is still uncertain. It allows the public to be aware of potentially dangerous weather and take steps to protect themselves, their property, and their pets.
Special Weather Statements are issued for a variety of events, including severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, floods, snowstorms, and extended periods of extreme cold or heat.
What are the conditions that warrant a Special Weather Statement?
Special Weather Statements are issued when significant weather is expected. The weather conditions may be hazardous, but not warrant a full-fledged warning. These statements are produced for a number of conditions including:
-hurricanes and tropical storms
Visibility may be significantly reduced during these events, so drivers should be cautious and use low beam headlights.
Why are Special Weather Statements issued?
Special Weather Statements are now issued for a variety of significant weather conditions that may pose a threat to the safety of Canadians. Examples include:
-significantlydeclining temperatures that could result in frostbite or hypothermia;
-heavy downpours that could lead to flash flooding;
-widespread damage due to high winds; and
-severe thunderstorms capable of producing damaging wind gusts, large hail and tornadoes.
How are Special Weather Statements communicated?
Special Weather Statements are issued when there is a significant risk of severe weather, but the timing or exact track of the event is still uncertain. They are typically issued 2-3 days in advance of the potential event, and are updated as new information becomes available.
Special Weather Statements are issued by Environment Canada’s Meteorological Service and communicated through various channels, including:
-The National Weather Watch web site;
-The Weather Alerts web site;
-Environment Canada’s Twitter feeds; and,
-In some cases, commercial radio and television stations.
What should you do if you receive a Special Weather Statement?
A Special Weather Statement is issued when a significant change in the weather is expected but not enough to issue a watch or a warning. You should take action to protect yourself from the severe weather. Be sure to keep an eye on the forecast and check for updates from the National Weather Service.
What other types of weather advisories are there?
There are four main types of weather advisories: watches, warnings, statements, and outlooks. Watches and warnings are issued for specific counties or geographic areas when a hazardous weather event is either happening or is about to happen. A watch means that conditions are favorable for a hazard to occur, while a warning means that the hazard is already occurring or is imminent. Statements provide information about conditions that are no longer hazardous but could still be of interest, such as a significant change in weather conditions. Outlooks provide information about conditions that are not yet hazardous but could become so at some point in the future.
How do Special Weather Statements compare to other advisories?
Special Weather Statements are issued to highlight significant weather events that are occurring, imminent, or likely. These events can range from high wind and heavy rain to widespread frost.
Special Weather Statements are issued by Environment Canada when its forecast meteorologists are tracking a developing weather situation that could lead to an impactsful weather event. Advisories, watches, and warnings for other hazards (such as tornadoes and lightning) are also issued by Environment Canada.
Special Weather Statements are different from watches and warnings in that they are issued to provide advance notice of significant weather that may develop over the next few hours to days, but it is not certain that the event will occur. By contrast, watches and warnings indicate that a hazard is imminent or already occurring in some areas.
What is the difference between a Special Weather Statement and a Severe Weather Warning?
The Special Weather Statement is issued when weather conditions are expected to cause significant inconveniences and/or health risks. Severe Weather Warnings are only issued when these conditions are expected to cause danger to life.
Can Special Weather Statements be issued for non-severe weather?
YES! A Special Weather Statement (SPS) can be issued when hazardous, but not severe, weather is occurring or imminent.
The criteria for the issuance of a SPS are identical to those used for a Severe Weather Outlook or Warning; however, the anticipated event is not severe enough to warrant a warning. Examples of weather that could warrant an SPS include:
-prolonged periods of light freezing rain or drizzle
What are some examples of recent Special Weather Statements?
Special Weather Statements are issued for significant weather events that are either occurring, about to occur or could occur in the future. These statements are issued for events such as:
Some examples of recent Special Weather Statements include:
-A Special Weather Statement for Toronto and the GTA regarding a possible severe thunderstorm on September 20, 2018.
-A Special Weather Statement for Montreal and surrounding areas regarding a possible severe thunderstorm on September 21, 2018.
-A Special Weather Statement for New Brunswick regarding a possible winter storm on October 2, 2018.