Difference Between Tornado Watch and Warning

Difference Between Tornado Watch and Warning

For those who may not actually know its meaning, a tornado is a moving, destructive vortex of thunderstorm with a funnel-shaped cloud, which wafts at a high speed. And the difference between tornado watch and warning is a very important topic as it is a phenomenon that affects everyday people.

Well, you can feel free to liken it to the disparity between taking precautionary measures and taking actions respectively. Do you know the all-important disparity between them? If no, the objective of this crucial guide is to enlighten you about the subject. So, continue reading to learn more.       

Definition of Tornado Watch

Tornado watch means a forecast which suggests that the weather conditions are perfect for the destructive, calamitous storm to strike a place. This is normally applied in vast areas where there are foreseeable signs of twister development.

Essentially, the importance of this measure is to alert the general public a few hours or more before the disaster hits the place in focus. At these perilous times, every concerned person will have to remain vigilant. Much as it varies, the sign that could trigger this move is a dark, greenish sky or an approaching cloud of debris.

Action You Need to Do During Tornado Watch

During this period, you will have to take certain actions. Well, you’re expected to make your way into your apartment or hallway in your basement. More importantly, you should do well to avoid doors, windows and outside walls.

Plus, the best bet remains to stay still in the middle of the room and avoid edges as they are a metaphor for debris attraction. You should also consider making your way to a crib constructed with brick, block or reinforced concrete, preferably without windows.

If you are in an auditorium, café or gymnasiums with flat roofs, it is in your best interest that you leave the facility at once as it is not considered a safe haven. Also, you should never be outdoors when the broadcast is all over the news as you are exposing yourself to harm.

The ideal action to take is to hide in the basement of a building or a sturdy building. If you heard about the forecast while you are driving, kindly make your way to a close-by shelter.

Definition of Tornado Warning

Tornado warning is a severe situation where an imminent heavy storm has been seen or picked by a radar. This is more serious as the likelihood that it will hit your surroundings is high. Well, it is a worst-case scenario as it is not just a mere forecast. Before the advisory is issued, there are certain signs that will greet the city.

Oftentimes, a large hail of more than one inch in diameter will keep falling with a wind speed of 55mph. In addition, people will start hearing a loud roar coupled with the movement of large cloud of debris. All these signs are a red flag.

Action You Need to Do During Tornado Warning 

According to experts, there are certain actions you will have to take when it is anticipated. In addition to the actions mentioned earlier, you are also expected to avoid overpasses and bridges in case you are driving when the news broke. Keep in mind that you will be safer if you are in a flat location.

As it has been established earlier, it is always accompanied by debris, therefore, you must look out for it to avoid injuries or death. Also, if you happen to be far away from a shelter, you are strongly advised to use your hands to protect your head and neck.

Furthermore, you will have to follow reports to monitor the situation as it progresses (if you can). Keeping yourself abreast with the latest development will determine your next line of action. If you live in a locality vulnerable to it, you should do well to build your own safe room in accordance with FEMA or ICC 500 standards.

When you do this, you are taking the necessary measures to keep yourself and your loved ones safe. From the foregoing, the difference between tornado watch and tornado warning lies in their definitions and signs.

Main Differences Between Tornado Watch vs Tornado Warning

Tornado Watch Tornado Warning
Meaning Atmospheric conditions that are suitable to stormy winds When the radar picks up an encroaching stormy disaster
Impact It may not necessarily be severe The impact is usually disastrous
Area of coverage This is done in a vast geographic area, which can cover up to 25,000 square miles A certain locality is targeted
Likelihood of Occurrence It may not necessarily happen   The chance that it will happen is high
Signs There are no definite criteria for this as they may vary The professional picks urban floods

From the table above, it’s crystal clear that you now understand the difference between a tornado watch and a tornado warning. Moving forward, we will check out places that have experienced it in the past.

Common Tornado Locations in the US

Well, such havocs are common in the United States. However, there are certain locations that are more vulnerable than others. For instance, the Rocky Mountains always experience it. Other places where it has been recorded in the past include Mississippi Valley, the Midwest and the Great Plains.

With the U.S. having a record high of 1,200 storms annually, more and more places are at risk. Today, some areas are known to be vulnerable to this destructive winds and the conditions are monitored. Basically, Texas and Canada, U.S. next neighbor, are at-risk locations.

According to experts, states like Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas are considered high-risk states given their well-documented histories. Florida, which is west to the Gulf of Mexico and northwest of U.S. state of Alabama, remains the most vulnerable state. Therefore, if you live in any of these places, you are advised to build your safe room.