Severe Weather Awareness Week 2020: Terminology

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Lincoln, Neb. (KOLN) - Severe Weather Awareness Week begins Monday in Nebraska. This is a week set aside every year to help make sure everyone is prepared for when severe weather strikes. Each day, we will cover a different topic.

Monday’s topic is “Terminology”. One of the most important points for us to make here is what the difference is between a watch and a warning.

A watch means “be prepared”. Threatening weather is possible and if conditions come together as forecasters suspect, threatening weather could happen in the near future. Watches are usually issued hours in advance of threatening weather and cover a large area, multiple counties or even states. Use this time to review and discuss your emergency plan and make any necessary preparations. Be ready to act quickly.

A warning on the other hand means “take action!” Warnings mean that the type of threatening weather is occurring or imminent. Life and property are being threatened. Seek shelter immediately and look for further information once you are in a safe place. Warnings are issued only seconds or minutes in advance and cover a much smaller area like part of a county.

If this is tough for you to keep straight try remembering it with this cooking analogy. A watch means the atmospheric ingredients are there and a severe thunderstorm or tornado is possible, similar to setting out the ingredients for a recipe. A warning means the ingredients have been mixed together and formed into the final product, a severe thunderstorm or tornado.

During this time of preparedness, it is also important to make sure you know where you are on a map so you can identify if threatening weather will impact you. Make sure you know your county, where you live in it, and the surrounding county names. It is also important to know the NWS office or offices that cover your area. Follow them on social media and also follow other sources like 10/11 Now on Facebook. and Twitter. and follow each of our meteorologists too!