Tornado Watches vs. Warnings

You may know tornado season is closing in on us, but do you know the difference between a watch and a warning?

Posted: Mar. 12, 2019 5:54 PM

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - You likely don't need to experience a tornado to know they can be scary, but you may find comfort in understanding the differences between watches and warnings.

First, we'll start with the watch.

When this is issued, you need to be weather aware.

This does not mean a tornado has been spotted.

It does mean everywhere in the watch area has conditions that are favorable for tornado development.

If a watch is issued, be prepared to take action.

Stay inside, and if you're outdoors, try to get inside.

Of course, after that is a tornado warning.

This is only issued when a tornado has been seen.

A storm spotter can see the tornado, or it can be indicated by rotation on radar.

We do not have to have a watch before a warning, simply because a tornado can pop up instantly with the right conditions.

If a warning is put into your area, we are in an emergency.

This is the time to take action.

Tornadoes are powerful storms.

Depending on if the storm is an EF-1 or an EF-5, you could see wind speeds anywhere from 85 to 200 miles per hour.

If you haven't prepared yet, severe weather preparedness week is March 17th through 23rd in Indiana.

This is always a good time to make sure you and your family are ready, especially as we move into the spring and summer seasons.

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