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Watches & Warnings

We are all familiar with what we hear on the television or radio: “We are under a severe weather warning.” But not everyone understands the difference between a warning and a watch.


Severe Thunderstorm

Watch: Atmospheric conditions over a large area, usually the size of a large state or multiple states, support the development of severe thunderstorms for 4 hours or longer.

Warning:

Issued by the National Weather Service in your area when severe weather is either occurring or will occur within a specified time (usually within 60 minutes) in one or several counties.


Tornado

Watch: Atmospheric conditions over a large area, usually the size of a large state or multiple states, support the development of tornadoes for 4 hours or longer.

Warning:

Issued by the National Weather Service in your area when tornadoes are either occurring or will occur within a specified time (usually within 60 minutes) in one or several counties.


Hurricane

Watch: When issued for your part of the coast, this indicates the possibility that you could experience hurricane conditions within 36 hours. This should trigger your family's disaster plan, and protective measures should be initiated—especially those actions requiring extra time, such as securing a boat, leaving a barrier island, etc.

Warning: When issued for your part of the coast, this indicates sustained winds of at least 74 mph are expected within 24 hours or less. Once this warning has been issued, your family should be in the process of completing protective actions and deciding the safest location to be during the storm.

For more information regarding watches and warnings, visit the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
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