Besides responding to natural and manmade disasters, the role of SVdP’s Disaster Services Corporation is to educate SVdP Councils and Conferences about different types of severe weather. Be alert, so you can be prepared for spring storms!
A tornado watch means that tornadoes are possible in and near the watch area. Review and discuss your emergency plans and check supplies and your safe room. Be ready to act quickly if a watch is issued. Acting early helps save lives! Watches are issued by the Storm Prediction Center, and a watch area is typically large, covering numerous counties or even states.
A tornado warning means one has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. There is imminent danger to life and property. Move to an interior room on the lowest floor of a sturdy shelter. Avoid windows. If you are in a mobile home, a vehicle or outdoors, move to the closest substantial shelter and cover your head to avoid flying debris. Local NWS offices issue warnings. Warnings typically encompass a much smaller area, around the size of a city or small county. Warnings are issued when a tornado is spotted on the ground or identified by a forecaster on radar.
Severe Thunderstorm Watch
A severe thunderstorm watch means that atmospheric conditions are favorable for severe thunderstorm development. The severe thunderstorm watch outlines an area where an organized threat of severe thunderstorms is expected generally during a three- to six-hour period. Severe thunderstorm watches are issued by the Storm Prediction Center after consultation with local National Weather Service offices and can cover several counties to several states at a time.
During a severe thunderstorm watch, it is important to think about where you will be during the lifetime of the watch. If you are outdoors, develop a Weather Ready plan that includes directions to the nearest lightning and hail-proof shelter. Keep in mind that severe hail can smash car windshields, cause injuries and, in the extreme, punch holes in roofs.