A Watch will be issued if severe weather is possible.
When a watch is issued, it means that conditions are favorable for severe weather, generally within 6-8 hours of the severe weather event.
Watches may be issued for Tornadoes, Severe Thunderstorms, Flash Flooding, Winter Weather, or other weather expected to develop that could be dangerous to life or property.
A Warning will be issued if severe weather is imminent.
Whereas a Watch is issued if severe weather is likely to occur, a Warning means that the severe weather is occurring or could occur any moment. Now is the time to take necessary precautions to protect life and property.
Advisories are used as an intermediate step between a Watch and a Warning. It means that conditions are not immediately life-threatening, but are already occurring. Common advisories are Flood Advisories, Heat Advisories or Dense Fog Advisories. For example, with a Flood Advisory, heavy rains have fallen over the area. Some minor flooding is occurring, but does not yet pose an imminent risk.