Being aware of the potential for severe weather will help you stay safe and know when to prepare for possible power outages. Severe weather alerts are issued for our area by the National Weather Service and are carried by local radio and television stations, cable TV channels, web sites and NOAA Weather Radio.
According to the National Weather Service and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the following are the generally accepted definitions of severe weather advisories:
High flow or overflow of water from a river is possible in the given time period. It can also apply to heavy runoff or drainage of water into low-lying areas. These watches are generally issued for flooding that is expected to occur at least six hours after heavy rains have ended.
Flooding conditions are actually occurring or are imminent in the warning area.
Flash Flood Watch
Flash flooding is possible in or close to the watch area. Flash Flood Watches are generally issued for flooding that is expected to occur within six hours after heavy rains have ended.
Flash Flood Warning
Flash flooding is actually occurring or imminent in the warning area. It can be issued as a result of torrential rains or a dam or floodwall failure.
Severe Thunderstorm Watch
Conditions are conducive to the development of severe thunderstorms in and close to the watch area.
Severe Thunderstorm Warning
A severe thunderstorm has actually been observed by spotters or indicated on radar, and is occurring or imminent in the warning area.
Conditions are conducive to the development of tornadoes in and close to the watch area.
A tornado has actually been sighted by spotters or indicated on radar and is occurring or imminent in the warning area.
Winter Weather Advisory
Hazardous winter weather conditions are occurring, imminent, or likely.
Winter Storm Watch
Hazardous winter weather conditions including significant accumulations of snow and/or freezing rain and/or sleet are possible generally within 48 hours.
Winter Storm Warning
Hazardous winter weather conditions that pose a threat to life and/or property are occurring, imminent, or highly likely.
Ice Storm Warning
Heavy ice accumulations are imminent and the criteria for amounts vary over different county warning areas.