While Spring 2019 was a mostly quiet season for severe weather, there are still chances for severe weather going forward. Regardless, it’s never a bad idea to brush up on the differences between Severe Thunderstorm and Tornado alerts.
One of the highest priority alerts issued by the National Weather Service is the TORNADO WARNING. Tornado warnings are issued when a thunderstorm is either producing a tornado or is about to. By the time a warning is issued for your location, you should already know where your safe place is and what your tornado plan is. If a tornado warning is issued for your location, you may only have a matter of minutes to get to safety.
A TORNADO WATCH is a time when you should be finding that safe place. Tornado watches are issued in advance of or during thunderstorms that may produce tornadoes. A watch is meant to remind you that the thunderstorms forming or occurring will be capable of producing a tornado. Therefore, you should be locating your safe spot and making a tornado plan.
A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING is issued when a thunderstorm capable of producing severe wind gusts (58 mph or greater) or severe hail (1.00” or larger). Once again, a warning means the thunderstorm is occurring, so you should be seeking shelter immediately. You should already know which shelter you plan to use before the warning is issued.
A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH runs mostly the same as a tornado watch. The only difference is that the storms in the watch area are not expected to produce tornadoes. If a Severe thunderstorm watch has been issued for your location, you should begin looking for your shelter in case a storm turns severe. Know your shelter and what action you will take.
The bottom line when it comes to watches and warnings…
WATCH – BE READY
WARNING – TAKE ACTION