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National Weather Service makes changes to winter weather alerts

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FARGO—The system used to alert you about serious winter weather has undergone some changes.

In an attempt to simplify its system of weather alerts, the National Weather Service has streamlined the terminology it uses for severe winter weather events. For example, blizzard watches will now be called "winter storm watches," and freezing rain advisories will become "winter weather advisories."

"(You) can kind of get confused between the differences," said Chandler Kallock, weather watcher.

WDAY Chief Meteorologist John Wheeler said it might not mean a whole lot to the average person.

"My suspicion is users of weather products TV or online won't notice much difference," Wheeler said.

He said the National Weather Service changes its alerts periodically.

"Thirty-two years ago when I started this they had traveler's advisories and livestock advisories- now we have winter weather advisories. They're just trying to communicate better as the needs of the public change, and frankly as the public changes," said Wheeler.

Though the change's main goal is to simplify winter alerts, Wheeler said understanding the specifics of what the alerts will take an expert.

"The web is great for letting people know what's going on, but the old school way of someone telling you is the best way of getting the details," Wheeler said.

The National Weather Service is also looking to simplify flood warnings, wind warnings, and extreme heat warnings in the coming year.

For more information about these changes, watch the video below or visit the National Weather Service website.

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