Tornadoes are deadly, destructive forces of nature that take just minutes to develop. That's why the National Weather Service is constantly on alert.
"A watch is issued by the storm center when conditions are favorable for severe weather to develop. It doesn't necessarily mean anything has yet developed. They try to get the first watch of the day out two hours before severe weather develops," says John Robinson, National Weather Service.
"A lot of the features that will produce severe weather eventually may develop 10, 15 or 20 thousand feet above the ground. So we're not looking out, just ground level. We want to see the whole picture so that we can get a warning issued well before that severe weather happens."
"We're looking at the surface and the loft, in the lower layers and the upper layers of the storm to see what's going on," says Senior Forecaster John Lewis.
Then it's up to forecasters like John to determine if it's severe enough to issue a warning. It takes less than a minute for the warning to go out.
"It's still a human decision that we need that warning. Then the software helps us do it after that," explains Robinson.
The National Weather Service tries to issue as specific a warning as possible.
"Rather than warning for an entire county like we frequently did in the past, the idea now is to draw a multi sided figure out ahead of where the storm is going," says Robinson.
"This really narrows it down, narrows the focus, to those folks who are actually going to be affected by that storm," explains Lewis.
It also allows FOX16 Meteorologists to focus their forecasts so you can take shelter before severe weather blows through.
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