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Watch vs. Warning; knowing how to prepare for severe weather

Severe weather watch vs. warning
Severe weather warnings
Posted at 4:44 PM, May 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-20 20:38:58-04

Severe weather season is here, so when severe weather threatens, it's important that you and your family know how to prepare and when to take action.

Let's first start out with the difference between a watch and a warning.

Severe weather watch vs. warning

If either a Severe Thunderstorm Watch or a Tornado Watch is issued, this means that conditions are favorable for the development of severe weather. This is the time to prepare!

Review your severe weather plan and make sure that everyone knows where to go if a severe thunderstorm or a tornado moves in.

Severe weather watch vs. warning
Severe weather watch vs. warning

If a warning is issued, this means that severe weather is threatening and that you should take action immediately. It's important to note that a watch doesn't always precede a warning.

Different types of severe weather warnings

There are two main types of severe weather warnings, a Severe Thunderstorm Warning and a Tornado Warning.

A Severe Thunderstorm Warning is issued when the following criteria is met: hail that's at least 1" in diameter, and/or wind gusts of 58 mph or greater. It's also possible that a severe thunderstorm may spawn a tornado even before a Tornado Warning is issued.

When a Tornado Warning is issued, a twister has either been spotted or a tornado signature has been detected on radar.

Severe weather warnings
Severe thunderstorm warning and Tornado warning details

During a Tornado Warning, head to the basement or a storm cellar. If that's not an option, an interior room on the lowest floor is best. Cover yourself with pillows and blankets so that you're protected from falling debris. Helmets can also be used for protection so that your head isn't exposed.

Keep in mind that a warning might only be issued a few minutes before the storm hits. If you receive notification that you're in the direct path of the storm, take cover in your safe space as quickly as possible.

Stay *weather alert* this season and follow News5 both on-air and online when our Southern Colorado weather turns severe.