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What is the difference between a Tornado Watch & a Tornado Warning?

Published On: Jul 28 2011 10:39:32 AM EDT

A Tornado Watch is issued to let people know to be on the lookout for a possible tornado in the area whereas a Tornado Warning is a notification that a tornado has been seen or picked up by radar.

Tornado Watch

A Tornado Watch is issued to alert people to the possibility of a tornado developing in your area. At this point, a tornado has not been seen but the conditions are very favorable for tornados to occur at any moment.


Things to do when a Tornado Watch is issued:

Keep alert and watch for changing weather conditions Listen to your local news reports & weather updates Review your family or business emergency preparedness plan Review your disaster kit Be ready to seek shelter at a moments notice What to Watch for during a Tornado Watch: Dark greenish or orange-gray skies Large hail Large, dark, low-lying, rotating or funnel-shaped clouds A loud roar that is similar to a freight train

Tornado Warning

A Tornado Warning is issued when a tornado has actually been sighted or has been picked up on radar in your area. This means that you need to take shelter immediately in a safe sturdy structure.

Things to do when a Tornado Warning is issued:

Take shelter immediately Listen to your local radio for updates Follow the National Weather Service Safety Guidelines (below) What not to do during a tornado: Do not stay in a Mobile home as they offer very little protection from tornadoes. Do not open the windows in your home or business Do not try to outrun a tornado in a car Do not get under a highway overpass or bridge as you will be exposing yourself to flying debris and stronger winds.