Hurricane Watch vs. Warning
If you have been following the active tropics this season, you've probably heard the terms "Hurricane Watch" and "Hurricane Warning", but what is the difference and what should you do if a watch or warning is issued for your area?
Basically, a Hurricane Watch means that hurricane conditions are possible within the specific watch area. Hurricane watches are usually issued about 48 hours in advance of the start of tropical storm force winds. The reason they issue it ahead of tropical storm winds instead of hurricane force winds is because outdoor prepardness activites become extremely difficult once tropical storm force winds begin. If a Hurricane Watch is issued for your area, you should:
1. Review your Hurricane Preparedness Plan if you have one, and if not... make one!
2. Watch updates from a reliable weather source, and also listen to what your local authorities tell you.
3. Be ready to take action if a Hurricane Warning is issued.
A Hurricane Warning means that hurricane conditions are expected within the specific warning area. Hurricane Warnings are usually issued about 36 hours in advance of the start of tropical storm force winds. If a Hurricane Warning is issued for you area, you should:
1. Complete storm preparations immediately.
2. Enact your Hurricane Preparedness Plan
3. Evacuate as soon as the evacuation order is given. Don't wait until the last minute because it could be too late!
Hurricane track graphic courtesy of the National Hurricane Center
Hurricane Watch vs. Warning graphic courtesy of the National Weather Service in Mobile, AL