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NWS Severe Weather Awareness Week: Understanding the Meaning of Severe Weather Watches and Warnings


Published: April 26, 2021 at 10:40 a.m.

By: Statement from the National Weather Service


Monday: April 26, 2021



The National Weather Service and the New York State Office of Emergency Management have

proclaimed April 25 to May 1 Severe Weather Awareness Week in New York State.


To reduce your chances of being killed or injured by severe weather, it is important to

understand the meaning of severe weather watches and warnings.


Severe thunderstorms are defined as those thunderstorms that produce winds of 58 mph or

greater, hail of one inch in diameter or larger, or a tornado.


A Severe Thunderstorm Watch means that severe thunderstorms are possible over the next

several hours.


A Severe Thunderstorm Warning means that severe thunderstorms are imminent or occurring.

You should seek shelter immediately when a severe thunderstorm warning is issued.


Even if a thunderstorm is not considered severe, it is always a good idea to go indoors

since lightning is a potential threat. By definition, all thunderstorms contain lightning,

and all lightning is dangerous.


A Tornado Warning means that a tornado is imminent or occurring. Take shelter immediately

on the lowest floor of a sturdy building away from windows which can shatter.


A flash flood warning means that flooding is imminent or occurring. Flood waters can rise

rapidly. Move to higher ground immediately when a flash flood warning is issued.


NOAA Weather Radio offers the best way to stay in touch with extreme weather conditions

24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Your National Weather Service highly recommends everyone

have access to a NOAA Weather Radio.


For more information about severe weather safety visit the following

website: https://www.weather.gov/safety/thunderstorm-ww












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