Before the Storm: What You Need to Know

Know the Terminology:

Your chances of being aware of a severe weather warning depend on where you are, what you are doing and the time of day the warning is issued by the National Weather Service. If you are at home watching KBTX, and have a weather radio, chances are you will know severe weather is headed your way. If you are sleeping, traveling, shopping, working, attending a sporting event or another outdoor event, not watching television or otherwise not paying attention to your local weather, chances are you won’t receive the warning.

With certain storms, a single warning could turn out to be the most important alert of your life. Knowing how to get information and having multiple ways to hear a warning can help increase the chances you’ll hear the warning when it matters most.

What It Means and What You Should Do:

--Tornado or Severe Thunderstorm Watch:

What It Means:
In the event a Severe Thunderstorm Watch is issued, there is a good chance of large hail or damaging winds developing in the area. In the case of a Tornado Watch, we may see large hail, damaging winds and possible tornadoes. It may be sunny and beautiful when a watch is issued, but remember it means that conditions are favorable for severe storms to form.

Watches may also be issued for Flash Flooding, Winter Weather, or other weather expected to develop that could be dangerous to life or property.

You Should: If the watch includes your county, or one close to you, you should start to pay attention to what’s going on. If there are storms nearby, check with KBTX and to see if there are any warnings already issued.

--Severe Thunderstorm Warning:

What It Means:
A storm with large hail and / or damaging winds has been reported or indicated on radar.

Severe Thunderstorms will have winds stronger than 58 mph and large hail with a diameter of 1 inch or greater.

You Should: Stay or move indoors to a sturdy structure. Listen closely to the warning as it will tell you what exactly to expect, in terms of hail size, wind speed and lightning information.

--Tornado Warning:

What it Means: A tornado has been reported by a trusted storm spotter or there are signs on radar that tornado formation could be imminent.

You Should: If you are in the warning area, NOW is the time to put your safety plan into action. Turn up the volume on your television, or grab your NOAA Weather Radio and seek shelter immediately.

Again, with certain storms, a single warning could turn out to be the most important of your life. Be sure to take into consideration your daily plans and readjust as needed when a watch or warning has been issued for your area.

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