Tornado watch or warning: What’s the difference?

Written by Healthy Living News. Posted in Our Community

Though we already have enough on our plates with the COVID-19 pandemic, peak tornado season is underway in our area, so we need to be alert to weather forecasts and familiarize ourselves with the terminology meteorologists use, such as “tornado watch” and “tornado warning.”

A tornado watch is posted when conditions are right for a tornado to develop. This is a good time to make sure all of your emergency supplies are present in the room you plan to shelter in, stay tuned to local weather broadcasts or a weather-alert radio for updates, and review with your family what to do in the event of a tornado. A tornado warning indicates that a tornado has actually been sighted by storm spotters or detected by weather radar—and that means you and your family should seek shelter immediately.

Our local meteorologists keep us pretty well informed of severe weather developments, but it’s important to be able to recognize potential tornado warning signs. They include:

  • Low, dark clouds with a sickly, greenish caste
  • Fast-moving or rotating clouds
  • Whirling dust or debris beneath a cloud base
  • Hail
  • A thunderstorm followed by a strange calm
  • A visible funnel cloud
  • A loud, continuous roaring sound, likened to a jet or locomotive.