Pittsburgh has very unique weather. With so many sites, museums and restuarants, it is important to understand the changing conditions. As a local resident, you probably know what each season brings. Winter in Pittsburgh can be cold to say the least. However, learning the terms provided by local and national weather advisors can help you plan a successful outing and make your travel plans much safer. A Blizzard Watch for example can last 24 to 72 hours. Sustained winds with gusts over 35 mph with blowing snow can limit visibility to less than 1/4 mile for three or more hours. On the other hand, understanding the difference between a Watch, Warning and Advisory can definately be a benefit to you. First, let's begin with the term weather watch. A watch is issued in the 24 to 72 hour forecast time frame when the risk of a hazardous winter weather event has increased 50 to 80%. It is intended to provide enough lead time so those who need to set their plans in motion can do so. A watch is issued using the WSW Winter Weather Message product and will appear as a headline in some text products. It will change the color according to what type of watch has been issued.
A wind chill warning is a much greater threat than a watch because they are issued when a hazardous winter weather event is occurring, is imminent, or has a very high probability of occurrence. A probability greater than 80% is standard for the forecast agencies to issue this type of notice. A warning is used for conditions posing a threat to life or property. An advisory is for less serious conditions that cause significant inconvenience and, if caution is not exercised, could lead to situations that may threaten life and/or property. Warnings and advisories will appear as a headline in some text products such as the Zone Forecast. It will change the color according to what type of warning/advisory has been issued.
While Pittsburgh has a cooler climate during the summer months than many other regions throughout the United States, the winter months can be brutal. With an average low temperature of twenty one degrees in January, the residents of Pittsburgh enjoy a moderate summer with an average temperature of seventy three degrees. Now you can see why Pittsburgh is so appealing to visitors. Enjoying the architecture, country side and fantastic eateries makes it very difficult to not want to leave the house on a rainy day. Just be sure to bring your umbrella and a pair of snow boots depending on the time of year. Locals are use to the changing seasons and don't let the rain, sleet, hail or wind chill slow them down.