All Weather News

Watch Vs. Warning: Know The Difference

7 Mar 2019, 6:58 pm

Severe weather season is just beginning and now is the perfect time to review the difference between a watch and a warning.


-Conditions are primed for severe weather development
-Issued 6 to 12 hours in advance of severe weather
-Typically covers a large area
-Potential for life threatening, confidence is high
-Issued by the Storm Prediction Center
-Take necessary precautions in case bad weather strikes, have a plan in place


-Severe weather is occurring or imminent
-Covers a small area
-Issued by local National Weather Service Office
-Typically last 30 to 60 minutes when referring to a tornado or severe thunderstorm warning
-When a warning is issued, take action immediately to protect your life and property


For a thunderstorm to be warned as “severe” it must me capable of meeting a certain criteria– winds in excess of 58 mph and/ or hail 1″ or larger (quarter size or larger).



It’s always a great idea to have your cell phone on alert mode or to have a weather radio present. These devices will sound an alert should severe weather strike your area. Warnings from the National Weather Service are relayed through the Emergency Alert System on most modern phones.  This is most important at night when these devices can wake you from your sleep.