Severe Weather Awareness – Watches and Warnings

Today’s post is part 3 in my severe weather series and details the differences between watches and warnings. The information is for New England but is the same for other areas of the country. This information is courtesy of the National Weather Service.

New England will quickly transition from early spring weather to more summer like weather patterns over the next several weeks. Along with the warmer weather comes an increasing threat of thunderstorms, and with it comes the threat for severe weather. Are you prepared for severe weather? Do you know where and how to receive forecasts? Do you know how to receive warnings and watches for severe weather? Do you know what to do during and after severe weather impacts you?

Know the difference between a watch and a warning. It is vital to your safety to know the difference between a watch and a warning. During severe weather season, watches and warnings may be issued for severe storms, tornadoes and flash floods.

Watch – get ready

A watch is issued when a specific weather hazard is possible. For example, if the weather conditions are such that tornadoes might form, a watch will be issued. Tornadoes are not yet occurring when a watch is issued. This gives you time to get prepared. If you know what time of day storms are forecast to occur, you can plan where you will need to shelter should a tornado occur. You can also make plans for how to get yourself and your family, including pets, to that shelter if necessary. The watch also gives you a chance to test your communications plan and alert family and friends to the threat of dangerous weather.

Warning – take action

A warning is issued when a specific weather hazard is currently occurring or will be occurring very soon. If a severe thunderstorm warning is issued you should get inside a building immediately and stay away from windows and electrical appliances with cords. If a tornado warning is issued you should go to the lowest level of a sturdy building to an interior room with no windows.

Visit www.weather.gov/om/severeweather for more information

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