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What does that watch or warning mean?

Not sure exactly what that watch or warning means? Get the answers here.

What is a "Tornado Watch"?

  • "Tornado Watch " - Bulletin issued well in advance to alert the public of the possibility of a tornado hazard. The occurrence, location and timing may still be uncertain.
  • This is updated as conditions warrant.

What is a "Tornado Warning"?

  • "Tornado Warning" - Bulletin issued when a tornado has actually been sighted by spotters or indicated on radar and is occurring or imminent in the warning area.
  • This is updated as conditions warrant.

What is a "Severe Thunderstorm Watch"?

  • "Severe Thunderstorm Watch" - Bulletin issued well in advance to alert the public of the possibility of a tornado hazard. The occurrence, location and timing may still be uncertain.
  • This is updated as conditions warrant.

What is a "Severe Thunderstorm Warning"?

  • "Severe Thunderstorm Warning" - Bulletin issued when a severe thunderstorm has actually been observed by spotters or indicated on radar, and is occurring or imminent in the warning area. A "severe" thunderstorm is one that produces hail the size of pennies or larger, or damaging winds (winds above 58 mph).
  • This is updated as conditions warrant.

What is a "Severe Weather Statement"?

  • "Severe Weather Statement" - Bulletin issued to update or cancel a severe thunderstorm or tornado warning.
  • This is updated as conditions warrant using another "Severe Weather Statement".

What is a "Significant Weather Alert"?

  • "Significant Weather Alert" - Bulletin issued to provide information about thunderstorms causing any of the following problems:
    • Unusually frequent/intense cloud-to-ground lightning
    • Winds 40 to 50 mph
    • Hail smaller than pennies
    • Heavy rain causing significant visibility restrictionsespecially near major highways during high traffic times or ponding of water on roadways.
  • This is updated as conditions warrant using another "Significant Weather Alert".

What is a "Flash Flood Warning"?

  • "Flash Flood Warning" - Bulletin issued when flash flooding is actually occurring or imminent in the warning area. It can be issued as a result of torrential rains, a dam failure, or ice jam.
  • This is updated as conditions warrant.

What is a "Flash Flood Statement"?

  • "Flash Flood Statement" - Message issued after a Flash Flood Warning when flash flooding is actually occurring or imminent in a warning area. It is issued every one to six hours to update information provided in the previous Flash Flood Statement, or in the original Flash Flood Warning.
  • This is updated with additional Flash Flood Statements.

What is a "Flood Watch"?

  • "Flood Watch" - Bulletin issued when expected rainfall could cause creeks, streams and/or rivers to overflow.
  • This is updated at least every 6 to 8 hours with another "Flood Watch" until the threat of flooding has ended or until Flood Warnings have been issued.

What is a "Flood Potential Outlook"?

  • "Flood Potential Outlook" - Bulletin issued to provide information about potential in the next few days for heavy rainfall which could cause flooding.
  • This is updated at least once every day with another "Flood Potential Outlook" or possibly with a "Flood Watch", unless the threat for flooding dissipates.

What is a "Flood Statement"?

  • "Flood Statement" - Bulletin issued to provide updated information about flooding along main stem rivers, or important creeks.
  • This is updated at least once every day with another "Flood Statement" until water levels drop below flood stage, or the threat of flooding has ended.

What is a "Flood Warning" or "Areal Flood Warning"?

  • "Flood Warning" - a Flood Warning is bulletin issued when main stem rivers, or important creeks are expected to reach or exceed flood stage at specific sites.
  • "Areal Flood Warning" - an Areal Flood Warning is issued for highflow, overflow or inundation of a defined area, or when creeks and non-mainstem rivers are expected to flood or remain in flood after 6 hours and there is a threat to life or property and possible evacuations. 
  • This is updated at least once every day for main stem river flooding with a Flood Statement until water levels drop below flood stage, or the threat of flooding has ended. For areal flooding an update may be issued on a much shorter time scale as conditions warrant.

What is a "Hazardous Weather Outlook"?

  • "Hazardous Weather Outlook" - Message providing details regarding our assessment of the potential for the occurrence of hazardous weather, such as lightning, flooding, significant visibility restrictions, damaging thunderstorms, tornadoes, etc.
  • This is updated as expectations change, with another "Hazardous Weather Outlook".
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