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What is the Difference Between a Severe Storm Watch and Warning?

8/4/2022 (Permalink)

National Weather Service watches and warning image. National Weather Service watches and warning image.

Do you know the difference between a National Weather Service Severe Thunderstorm Watch and a Severe Thunderstorm Warning? It is important to know the difference so you can take appropriate action!

Severe Thunderstorm Watch: Be Prepared! Severe thunderstorms are possible in and near the watch area. Stay informed and be ready to act if a severe thunderstorm warning is issued. The watch area is typically large, covering numerous counties or even states. This is the time to secure your home and belongs. Check flashlight batteries, check supplies, charge your phone, etc. Having these items checked off your safety list will come in handy if your area is upgraded to a warning.

Severe Thunderstorm Warning: Take Action! Severe weather has been reported by local spotters or indicated by radar. Warnings indicate imminent danger to life and property. Take shelter in a substantial building and get out of mobile homes that can blow over in high winds. Warnings typically encompass a much smaller area (around the size of a city or small county). These warnings state that an area may be impacted by large hail or damaging winds and are identified by an NWS forecaster on radar or by a trained spotter/law enforcement who is watching the storm. Stay away from windows during any kind of storm, even if you do not see lightning or notice strong winds. Storms can intensify rapidly, so it’s best to stay safely away from any windows or outside doors.

Staying informed is one of the best defenses against having a storm related emergency. Also, having a storm preparedness checklist and emergency plan can also help keep you and your family safe. Make sure to keep our number on those lists, in the event a weather emergency occurs because we’re “Faster to any size disaster”.

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