Winter is "playoff season" in the New Jersey weather world. Ready or not, here it comes.

Living in the mid latitudes means we get all kinds of weather. Across all four seasons. But sometimes the weather turns inclement. Or downright dangerous. And that is when not only following but also understanding the forecast becomes incredibly important.

In my 17+ years as a professional broadcast meteorologist, I have made it a specific goal to describe the daily weather forecast as accurately and precisely as possible. Along those lines, I have developed a certain "meteorological vocabulary" that I often dig into.

Some of those words and phrases have actual definitions. For example, sleet is a well-defined phenomenon. And a Winter Storm Warning has a very specific definition. (These are the kinds of entries you would find in the American Meteorological Society's Glossary of Meteorology, an excellent reference.)

And sometimes, my jargon leans more informal, conversational, and vernacular. Like when I talk about the difference between "conversational snow" and a "bread-and-milk storm".

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My job is often a delicate balance between 1.) being very specific about anticipated hazardous weather conditions, and 2.) keeping weathercasts concise and not too wordy, detailed, and/or boring. So I do not always have the opportunity on-air to specifically define certain words and phrases that I use often.

Well, here is that opportunity. I have put together a list of terms that I use often in my winter season weather forecasts throughout the Townsquare New Jersey Info and Weather Network. This "glossary" is not meant to be comprehensive, but to offer you some bonus insight into many of the specific words and phrases I use on the radio and the web.

Glossary of NJ winter weather words and phrases

Gallery Credit: Dan Zarrow

Dan Zarrow is Chief Meteorologist for Townsquare Media New Jersey. Check out Dan's weather blog or follow him on Facebook for your latest weather forecast updates.

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