Weather Watches and Warnings…. What’s the difference?
A WATCH means that the potential exists for the development of severe thunderstorms or tornadoes, depending upon the specific type of watch issued. In the case of a tornado watch, this DOES NOT mean that a tornado has been seen or even indicated on radar…it just means that conditions are favorable for the formation of tornadoes in thunderstorms. Similarly, a severe thunderstorm watch means that conditions are just conducive for the development of severe weather, and DOES NOT indicate that severe weather has been reported. While no immediate action on the part of the general public is required for the issuance of a watch, citizens should keep up to date on the current weather situation and be prepared to seek shelter if necessary.
A WARNING, on the other hand, requires more immediate action and should be taken seriously. A severe thunderstorm warning indicates that severe weather is imminent in your area or is already occurring (based on either human observation or doppler radar). The term severe refers to hail greater than or equal to 1.00″ in diameter and/or wind gusts that meet or exceed 58 mph. Although these storms can also be associated with dangerous cloud to ground lightning or heavy rainfall that is capable of causing flash flooding, neither of these two items serve as criteria for a severe thunderstorm warning being issued.
Take the weather with you on your mobile phone. Wherever you are, you can get the local weather forecast from the National Weather Service with one click on your home screen. Bookmark mobile.weather.gov to make sure that you have the latest weather news and information on the go.
How Do You Prepare for Severe Weather?
If you or someone in your family has a fear of storms, feeling prepared ahead of time can take away some of that fear. You can print the Family Preparedness sheet provided by www.in.gov to start the conversation with your family. Knowing they have a “disaster kit” assembled ahead of time can take away some of the fear. The 2nd page of the Family Preparedness sheet is a disaster kit checklist.
Purchase a weather radio to add to your kit ahead of time. This can be a great tool should you lose power during a storm. You can also be warned in the middle of the night if severe weather is headed your way. We are currently having a giveaway on Facebook of a top-rated weather radio.
(Contest begins 4/20/2017 6:ooPM EST and ends 4/28/2017 5:00PM EST – winner chosen at random by random number auto generator – must pick up prize at our location during business hours – contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook – must comment on post to be entered)
Severe Weather Alert…. Now What?
- Postpone or cancel outdoor activities and monitor weather reports on radio, television websites and social media.
- For lightning, shelter inside a building or hardtop vehicle, but do not touch the metal inside.
- Do NOT go near isolated tall trees or any other tall objects, or near downed power lines.
- Do NOT stop at underpasses. Wind speeds increase and can cause serious injuries.
- If tornados are expected while in a vehicle, get out and take shelter in a strong building if possible.
- During tornado warnings, mobile home residents need to evacuate immediately. Shelter in a building with a strong foundation.
- If caught out in the middle of a body of water, return to shore as soon as possible.
- Basements, inner rooms and storm cellars provide the best protection during a thunderstorm or tornado. Stay in the center of the room, away from doors and windows.
Click here to be directed a printable flyer listing the above tips and more on how to handle a severe weather alert.