As a society, we rely on weather forecasts to plan our day-to-day activities, and even make critical life decisions. While we all know the importance of paying attention to weather forecasts, there are often two terms that leave us wondering what the difference is. Those terms are watch and warning. In this article, we will discuss the difference between a watch and a warning, and what to do in case of each.
What is a Watch?
A watch is issued when the potential for severe weather exists. Watches are typically issued by the National Weather Service, and are meant to alert people that hazardous weather conditions are possible in the next few hours or even days. Watches are not as severe as warnings, but they should still be taken seriously. It is essential to have a plan in place in case the potential hazard turns into something more severe.
Common watches include severe thunderstorm watches, tropical storm watches, and tornado watches. When a watch is issued, it is a good idea to keep an eye on the forecast and stay up-to-date on any changes. If a watch turns into a warning, it's essential to be ready.
What is a Warning?
A warning is issued when hazardous weather is imminent or occurring, and it can cause significant damage or harm to people or property. If a warning is issued, it means that the potential hazard has reached a dangerous level and should be taken seriously. Warnings are issued by the National Weather Service and may be issued for severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, flash floods, hurricanes, and other dangerous weather phenomena.
When a warning is issued, it's essential to take immediate action to protect yourself and your loved ones. This means seeking shelter, staying up-to-date on any new information, and following any evacuation orders issued by local authorities.
What to Do When a Watch is Issued
If a watch is issued, it's essential to stay up-to-date on the forecast and have a plan in place in case the potential hazard turns into something more severe. The first step in preparing for a watch is to gather any necessary supplies, such as water, food, and a first aid kit.
It's also a good idea to stay up-to-date on the latest weather reports by watching the news on TV, listening to the radio, or checking online. You should also make sure that any outdoor furniture, debris, or lawn decorations are secured or moved inside.
If you live in an area that often experiences severe weather, consider investing in a weather radio. A weather radio is designed to receive alerts from the National Weather Service, and it will sound an alarm if a warning or watch is issued for your area.
What to Do When a Warning is Issued
If a warning is issued for your area, it's essential to take immediate action to protect yourself and your loved ones. The first step is to seek shelter. This may mean going to a designated safe room, such as a basement, or finding a sturdy building to take refuge in.
If you're driving, pull over to the side of the road and seek shelter in a nearby building. Do not take shelter under an overpass or bridge, as these areas can be dangerous during a storm.
It's also crucial to stay up-to-date on the latest weather reports and listen for any new instructions or evacuation orders from local authorities.
Understanding the difference between a watch and a warning is essential for staying safe during severe weather. Watches are issued when hazardous weather conditions are possible, while warnings are issued when hazardous weather is imminent or occurring.
If a watch is issued, stay up-to-date on the forecast and have a plan in place in case the potential hazard turns into something more severe. If a warning is issued, seek shelter immediately, stay up-to-date on the latest weather reports, and follow any instructions or evacuation orders issued by local authorities.
Remember, severe weather can be unpredictable and dangerous. Always listen to the advice of local authorities and take the necessary precautions to protect yourself and your loved ones.