Know the difference: Watches vs. Warnings

(WPRI) — Summer months can produce some of the most dangerous weather of the year and when severe weather threatens, it’s important to know the difference between a WATCH and a WARNING.

In the case of a severe storm WATCH, the potential exists for a strong thunderstorm, one that might bring damaging winds or hail. A tornado WATCH means conditions exist that could be favorable for the formation of a tornado. When a WATCH is issued, keep an eye on the sky, watch and prepare for potential severe weather.

When a severe storm WARNING is issued, it means severe weather – like a thunderstorm – is either happening or imminent, based on Doppler radar information.

In the case of a tornado WARNING,  it means a tornado has either been spotted on the ground or rotation has been detected on Doppler. Torando WARNING means there is a serious threat to life and property for those in the path of the storm, and you should take cover immediately.

All of these WATCHES and WARNINGS have an impact on our Threat Tracker, which is a tool the Pinpoint Weather Team uses to help you plan your day, especially during severe weather.

For more information on the differences between a WATCH and WARNING and how they’re determined, check out this video from the National Weather Service:


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