A gorgeous weekend is coming! Sunny and mild, with a few clouds by Sunday but staying dry! Monday will bring our next good chance for rain.
We are wrapping up Severe Weather Awareness Week and today is about HOW you get your vital weather information and how you interpret it. Do you know what the difference between a watch and a warning? If a tornado watch is issued, do you need to get to your safe place immediately? The answer - NO.
A WATCH means that conditions are favorable and rough weather is possible in the near future. So a tornado watch means that conditions are favorable for tornadoes to develop and tornadoes will be POSSIBLE. You need to stay on the alert and be aware of any warnings that may get issued.
A WARNING means that the bad weather is happening or about to happen, so you want to take precautions. In the case of a tornado warning, you'd want to get to the lowest floor of your home, away from windows, in a bathroom, hallway or closet perhaps. A tornado warning means a tornado has been spotted OR indicated on Doppler radar.
Here's some more info from National Weather Service on the topic and also some helpful stuff on NOAA Weather Radios and other ways of getting warning/watch info:
THROUGHOUT THE WEEK...WE HAVE DISCUSSED THE VARIOUS TYPES OF SEVERE
WEATHER THAT POSE A THREAT TO THE CAROLINAS EACH YEAR. THE NATIONAL
WEATHER SERVICE HAS RESPONSIBILITY FOR ISSUING WARNINGS AND WATCHES
OF SEVERE WEATHER. REMEMBER THAT A WATCH IS ISSUED IN THE HOURS
PRIOR TO SEVERE WEATHER. IT MEANS THAT YOU SHOULD MAKE FINAL REVIEWS
OF YOUR SAFETY PLAN...AND YOU SHOULD LISTEN CLOSELY FOR WARNINGS AND
WATCH OUT FOR SEVERE WEATHER. A WARNING IS ISSUED MINUTES BEFORE
SEVERE WEATHER STRIKES. IT MEANS YOU SHOULD PUT YOUR SAFETY PLAN
INTO IMMEDIATE ACTION. YOUR LOCAL WEATHER SERVICE OFFICE MAINTAINS
STRONG RELATIONSHIPS WITH LOCAL NEWS MEDIA OUTLETS AND EMERGENCY
MANAGEMENT OFFICIALS TO ENSURE THAT WATCHES AND WARNINGS ARE
BROADCAST OVER PUBLIC AIR WAVES AS SOON AS THE NATIONAL WEATHER
SERVICE RELEASES THE INFORMATION. THIS SYSTEM IS A VERY EFFECTIVE
WAY OF RECEIVING WEATHER INFORMATION...AS LONG AS YOU HAPPEN TO BE
WATCHING TELEVISION OR LISTENING TO THE RADIO WHEN THE WARNINGS AND
WATCHES ARE ISSUED.
IT IS NOT UNCOMMON FOR SEVERE WEATHER...INCLUDING TORNADOES TO
AFFECT OUR REGION LATE AT NIGHT AND IN THE EARLY MORNING HOURS. IN
ADDITION...POWER OUTAGES CAN CUT OFF THIS MEANS OF RECEIVING
CRITICAL WEATHER UPDATES. THIS POSES THE QUESTION OF HOW YOU IN THE
PUBLIC CAN RECEIVE WARNINGS OF TORNADOES AND VIOLENT THUNDERSTORMS
WHILE YOU ARE AWAY FROM YOUR TELEVISION OR RADIO...OR WHEN YOU LOSE
POWER. EVEN IF YOU HAVE AN EFFECTIVE SEVERE WEATHER PLAN IN PLACE...
THAT PLAN IS USELESS IF YOU HAVE NOT ENSURED THAT YOU HAVE RELIABLE
MEANS OF RECEIVING WARNINGS IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES.
THE MOST EFFECTIVE METHOD OF RECEIVING WARNINGS DURING THESE TIMES
IS VIA NOAA WEATHER RADIO. THESE RATHER INEXPENSIVE YET LIFE-SAVING
DEVICES CAN BE PURCHASED AT MOST ELECTRONICS STORES. BASIC NOAA
WEATHER RADIOS ARE BATTERY-OPERATED AND ARE EQUIPPED WITH AN AUDIBLE
ALARM THAT CAN BE TRIGGERED WHEN A SEVERE WEATHER WARNING OR WATCH
IS ISSUED FOR ANY COUNTY IN YOUR PARTICULAR BROADCAST AREA.
HOWEVER...MORE SOPHISTICATED MODELS ARE AVAILABLE THAT ARE EQUIPPED
WITH SPECIFIC AREA MESSAGE ENCODING...OR SAME...TECHNOLOGY. THIS
FEATURE ALLOWS THE RADIOS TO BE PROGRAMMED TO ALARM ONLY WHEN A
WARNING OR WATCH IS ISSUED FOR YOUR COUNTY. YOU CAN ALSO PROGRAM
MANY OF THESE DEVICES TO ALERT ONLY FOR CERTAIN TYPES OF WARNINGS OR
CELL PHONE TECHNOLOGY IS TAKING ON AN INCREASING ROLE IN RECEIPT OF
WARNINGS. MOST MAJOR MOBILE PHONE PROVIDERS ARE NOW PARTICIPATING IN
THE WIRELESS EMERGENCY ALERT PROGRAM. THESE ARE TEXT MESSAGE ALERTS
SENT TO YOUR CELL PHONE CONTAINING CRITICAL CIVIL EMERGENCY
MESSAGES...INCLUDING SOME...BUT NOT ALL WEATHER WARNINGS. YOU WILL
AUTOMATICALLY RECEIVE THIS SERVICE UNLESS YOU OPT OUT...ALTHOUGH
SOME OLDER PHONES MAY NOT BE EQUIPPED TO RECEIVE THE MESSAGES. IN
ADDITION...SOME PRIVATE VENDORS OFFER SERVICES THAT ALLOW YOU TO
RECEIVE A TEXT MESSAGE OR OTHER ALERT ON YOUR MOBILE PHONE OR PAGER
DEVICE IF ANY WEATHER WARNING IS ISSUED FOR YOUR COUNTY OR CITY.
OTHER APPLICATIONS MAKE USE OF THE GPS SYSTEM IN SMART PHONES TO
ALERT YOUR PHONE ONLY IF A WARNING IS ISSUED FOR YOUR SPECIFIC
LOCATION. A SIMPLE INTERNET SEARCH WILL PROVIDE MORE INFORMATION ON
SOME OF THESE SERVICES.