What is the difference between a tornado alert and a watch?

NATURAL DISASTERS are recurring weather events that can cause major damage and even loss of life.

When it comes to being prepared for a tornadoit’s good to know what to look out for.

There is a difference between a tornado watch and a tornado warning


There is a difference between a tornado watch and a tornado warningPhoto credit: Twitter / EdwinSexton7

What is a tornado?

Tornadoes are narrow funnel of the wind that form from a thunderstorm and touch the ground.

They are known to be, and can be, incredibly violently rotating columns of air especially dangerous due to the lack of wind visibility.

When a condensing well of water droplets, dust, and debris forms, a tornado becomes visible to the human eye.

Tornadoes occur in most areas of the world, with around 1,200 in the US each year.

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Although they can occur at any time of the year, tornado season spans May through June, with most occurring throughout the year spring.

What is a tornado watch?

A tornado watch is usually issued hours before an actual tornado occurs.

It means that the weather conditions are favorable for a to form a tornadobut one has not yet been sighted.

The NOAA Storm Prediction Center issues a tornado watch during times when weather conditions indicate the possibility of a tornado storm.

A tornado watch may cover part of a state or multiple states, depending on weather conditions.

One should be prepared to act during a watch, but that doesn’t always mean severe weather is coming.

Tornadoes are known to sound similar to a freight train


Tornadoes are known to sound similar to a freight trainPhoto credit: Twitter

What is a tornado warning?

A tornado warning is issued by local weather forecasters from the NOAA National Weather Service Forecast Office in an area where a tornado has been sighted.

Tornado Warnings cover smaller areas, as they are only used in the event of an actual storm.

A Tornado warning indicates a serious danger to those in the path of said tornado.

When alerted to a tornado warning, seek shelter immediately.

What is a tornado alert?

According to the National Weather Service Tornado sirens will usually sound when something is considered “life threatening.”

The sirens are usually an outdoor noise used to alert citizens that something dangerous is approaching.

Although it varies from state to state, the most common tones produced by tornado sirens in the United States are “alert” (steady) and “attack” (howl).

The alarm sirens are usually activated by city or county officials, usually police or fire department or emergency management personnel.

How do you protect yourself during a tornado?

During a tornadoyou should look for a safe place in an emergency shelter.

If a storm shelter is not available, people are advised to find a spot in their homes away from windows, usually in the basement or a bathroom.

An emergency kit is recommended by AccuWeather. They suggest the contents should include non-perishable food, water, batteries, a flashlight, a battery-powered radio and a first-aid kit.

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Look out for green clouds or the sound of a freight train, which are how a tornado is described.

During a tornado, avoid corners, doorways, and outdoor areas.

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