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Wednesday, Jul 23, 2014
Hurricane Guide

Warnings and watches: What do they mean?

Published:

As tropical storms or hurricanes develop, you may hear these terms to help in your decision-making.

TROPICAL STORM WATCH: An announcement that tropical storm conditions (sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph) are possible within the specified coastal area within 48 hours.

TROPICAL STORM WARNING: An announcement that tropical storm conditions (sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph) are expected somewhere within the specified coastal area within 36 hours.

HURRICANE WATCH: An announcement that hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or higher) are possible within the specified coastal area. Because hurricane preparedness activities become difficult once winds reach tropical storm force, the hurricane watch is issued 48 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds.

HURRICANE WARNING: An announcement that hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or higher) are expected somewhere within the specified coastal area. Because hurricane preparedness activities become difficult once winds reach tropical storm force, the hurricane warning is issued 36 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds.

INLAND TROPICAL STORM WATCH: An announcement that tropical storm conditions (sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph) are possible within the specified interior area within 48 hours.

INLAND TROPICAL STORM WARNING: An announcement that tropical storm conditions (sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph) are expected somewhere within the specified interior area within 36 hours.

INLAND HURRICANE WATCH: An announcement that hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or higher) are possible within the specified interior area. Because hurricane preparedness activities become difficult once winds reach tropical storm force, the hurricane watch is issued 48 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds.

INLAND HURRICANE WARNING: An announcement that hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or higher) are expected somewhere within the specified interior area. Because hurricane preparedness activities become difficult once winds reach tropical storm force, the hurricane warning is issued 36 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds.

TORNADO WATCH: Issued to alert the public that conditions are favorable for the development of tornadoes in and close to the watch area. These watches are issued with information concerning the watch area and the length of time they are in effect.

TORNADO WARNING: Issued by local NWS offices to warn the public that a tornado has been sighted by storm spotters, law enforcement or has been indicated by radar. These warnings are issued with information concerning where the tornado is presently located and which communities are in the anticipated path of the tornado.

FLASH FLOOD WATCH: A flash flood watch means a flash flood is possible in the area; stay alert.

FLASH FLOOD WARNING: A flash flood warning means a flash flood is imminent and everyone in the area should take immediate action.

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