What’s the Difference Between a Hurricane Watch and a Hurricane Warning?

difference between a hurricane watch and hurricane warningKnowing the difference between a hurricane watch and a hurricane warning helps you draw the line between important preparation to secure property against storm damage and more urgent steps to ensure the safety of human life. Thanks to modern satellite technology, the arrival of a hurricane on a coastal area is no longer a matter of surprise. Landfall can be accurately timed, and emergency information issued to the public by the Hurricane Center at the National Weather Service reflects that fact. It’s important to know how this information impacts you and your family. Here’s how the difference between a hurricane watch and a hurricane warning affects your decisions about what to do next.

Hurricane Watch

When possible, a hurricane watch is usually issued 48 hours in advance of the predicted hour that winds are likely to reach tropical storm force. Announcement of a watch indicates that weather conditions are favorable for the formation of a hurricane that may affect the area under the watch. A watch is, first and foremost, a heads-up to pay attention. Begin monitoring local news outlets and/or a NOAA Weather Radio, if you have one. Take reasonable steps to secure your home from damage and stay abreast of evolving conditions. Begin discussing an action plan with your family for evacuation if reports indicate conditions are deteriorating.

Hurricane Warning

Generally, a National Weather Service hurricane warning is issued when data indicates that a hurricane will strike the affected area in 36 hours. A hurricane warning means action is required to preserve life. Any further efforts at preparing your home and property should be rapidly concluded and all attention focused on the physical safety of you and your family. Make immediate plans to evacuate the area included in the hurricane warning and move to safety, if instructed to do so. Consult emergency TV and radio broadcasts for information from the local emergency management agency about safe areas to move to and recommended evacuation routes. Ask the professionals at Rytech for more information about the important difference between a hurricane watch and a hurricane warning.

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