Severe Weather Watches and Warnings

Do you know the difference between a watch and a warning?

A watch, issued by the national Storm Prediction Center (SPC) in Norman, OK, give advance notice that conditions are favorable for dangerous weather. The watch is issued for areas of the country, which can cover part of a state to several states, that are likely to experience severe weather. Forecasters at the SPC will talk with local National Weather Service (NWS) Offices within the risk area to give information about the type of severe weather. A watch informs people to stay alert to changing weather conditions.

watch vs. warning watch

Warnings are issued by the local NWS office when severe weather has been observed and threaten to both life and property. A warning is very localized, sometimes covering only a small portion of a county, and are issued on smaller time scales than a watch. Once a warning has been issued, there may only be 15 minutes to take action and prepare before severe weather impacts the warned area- sometimes there can be more time, sometimes less.

watch vs. warning warning

Source: Severe Weather: Knowing the Forecast | NWS