Severe Weather Awareness Week: Watch vs. Warning

Severe Weather Awareness Week: Watch vs. Warning
Weather Talk
Wednesday, March 6, 2013 - 4:49am

This week is National Severe Weather Awareness week for Louisiana. Each day a new topic will be featured to help get you prepared for the upcoming Spring severe weather season. Earlier we took a closer look at Tornadoes, today we will take a closer look at the difference between Watches and Warnings.

When atmospheric conditions are favorable for severe weather to develop, a Tornado Watch or Severe Thunderstorm Watch is issued by the storm prediction center located in Norman, Oklahoma in coordination with local National Weather Service offices. Severe weather watches cover large areas, and often cover a large portion of a state, or portions of several states. Watches are normally in effect for around 6 hours.  During the watch, be alert for threatening weather and make plans for actions. Listen to NOAA weather radio, commercial radio, or tv for further information.

Severe Thunderstorms or Tornado Warnings are issued by local National Weather Service offices when damaging winds, large hail, or tornadoes are reported by reliable sources or indicated by Doppler radar. Severe Thunderstorm Warnings are issued when the primary threat is damaging wind in excess of 58 mph, or large hail, quarter size or larger.  However, tornadoes may occasionally develop rapidly from any severe thunderstorm.

Tornado and Severe Thunderstorm Warnings are based on the expected track of the storm. The warning may cover all or portions of a Parish or County and is issued for 30 to 60 minutes duration.  Information contained in the warning, details such as what locations are at risk and what protective measures to take always are mentioned in the warning.  If the tornado or severe thunderstorm is near you, take appropriate protective action.

Remember, in a Watch, be on alert and ready to take action.  In a Warning, take immediate action.

You can always stay current with the weather around the area by "liking" Meteorologist Jesse Vinturella on Facebook, or follow on Twitter @JesseWeather.

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