Wednesday, August 13, 2014

What is the difference between a Warning, Watch and Advisory?

The National Weather Service issues these hazard statements all the time and you should know what they mean. The National Weather Service (NWS) issues these statements based on the level of hazard or the severity of the weather. Here are the levels of hazardous weather statements the NWS may issue:


A Warning issued be the weather service is the highest level of threat. Generally there is a life threatening situation occurring or about to occur. The NWS may also issue freeze and hard freeze warnings in the growing season that could be very damaging to crops. 


A Watch issued by the NWS means that conditions are right or will likely develop that could have dangerous or damaging effects. These are issued in storms that may not reach Warning criteria but will still pose danger to life and property. They are also issued when there is a developing weather system or where the dangers will be isolated in nature. 


Advisories are issued by the NWS for weather that will likely have effects to people or property but will likely not be life threatening. 

Here is the NWS page explaining it all 

What does this all mean to you? 

Any of the conditions where the NWS issues a hazard statement should be watched closely and not taken lightly. As we know, conditions vary across our region and what happens in one area may not happen in another. What level of threat it is to you as an individual may be different. For instance, if a flash flood watch is issued and you live at the bottom of a drainage, the threat is higher to you than someone who lives on top of the drainage. Many of the rescue missions La Plata County has performed in the back country had a similar cause: weather

  • Know your surroundings
  • Defend your home against weather impacts
  • Have a survival kit at your home, your office and in your car
  • Get to know your neighbor
  • Make a plan with your family - Remember that if we loose power for an extended period we may loose land lines, cell phones and internet. 

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