Weather 101: Watches vs. Warnings: What is the difference?

Weather 101: The differences between a watch and a warning

As we move through severe weather season, it's a good idea to be reminded the differences between a watch and a warning.

When severe weather approaches, the local National Weather Service offices, in coordination with the Storm Prediction Center, will issue a watch.

A watch is just that, for you to watch out for developing weather conditions that could turn dangerous. Typically, a watch will be issued for several hours while a severe weather threat exists.

The watch means the atmosphere is favorable for the development of severe storms that could produce damaging winds, hail or tornadoes.

When severe weather is occurring or is imminent, the local National Weather Service office will issue a warning.

The warning means that a storm is currently ongoing that is possessing or could possess severe rated winds of 58 miles-per-hour or greater, hail to the size of quarters or larger or a tornado.

When a warning is issued, you should take the appropriate actions to keep your and your family safe until the storm has passed.

If you have a NOAA Weather Radio, you will be able to hear when a watch or a warning is issued for your specific county. Your WECT Weather Mobile app will send a notification when your pre-defined location goes under a watch or warning as well. You will also be able to look at the interactive radar function and our live stream if the weather warrants inside the app.

Copyright 2015 WECT. All rights reserved.