Weather Watches and Warnings

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Tornado Watch
Weather conditions are favorable for the development of severe thunderstorms, hail, gusty winds and tornadoes in and close to the watch area. Be prepared to take necessary actions in the event that an actual tornado warning should occur.

Tornado Warning
Strong rotation in a thunderstorm is indicated by radar or a tornado has been sighted by spotters. Take necessary action immediately to protect oneself from bodily harm.

Flash Flood Watch
Means that flash flood conditions are possible within the designated watch area-be alert.


Flash Flood Warning

Means a flash flood has been reported or is imminent. Take immediate action.

Tropical Weather
By international agreement, 'tropical cyclone' is the general term for all cyclone circulations originating over tropical waters, classified by form and intensity as follows:

  • Tropical Wave: A trough of low pressure in the trade-wind easterlies.
  • Tropical Disturbance: A moving area of thunderstorms in the tropics that maintains its identity for 24 hours or more. (This is a common phenomenon in the tropics.)
  • Tropical Depression: A tropical cyclone in which the maximum sustained surface wind is 38 mph or less.
  • Tropical Storm: A tropical cyclone in which the maximum sustained surface wind ranges from 39 mph to 73 mph.
  • Hurricane: A tropical cyclone in which the maximum sustained surface wind is 74 mph or greater.
  • Small Craft Cautionary Statements: When a tropical cyclone threatens a coastal area, small craft operators are advised to remain in port or not to venture into open sea.
  • Tropical Storm Watch: Issued for a coastal area when there is the threat of tropical storm conditions within 36 hours.
  • Tropical Storm Warning: A warning for tropical storm conditions – including sustained winds within the range of 39 to 73 mph – which are expected in a specified coastal area within 24 hours or less.
  • Hurricane Watch: An announcement that hurricane conditions pose a possible threat to a specified coastal area within 36 hours.
  • Hurricane Warning: A warning that sustained winds of 74 mph (64 knots) or higher are expected in a specified coastal area within 24 hours or less.
  • Storm Surge: An abnormal rise of the sea along a shore as the result, primarily, of storm-driven winds.