1 minute readDisaster, Health & Safety
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Know the Difference: Warnings and Watches

This post has been updated for accuracy and editorial style

With last night’s slew of damaging storms, and the next few days looking very dangerous for many parts of the country, we wanted to share a quick set of definitions to help you.

Tornadoes Watches and Warnings

tornado warning tipsTornado Watch – Tornadoes are possible in and near the watch area. Review and discuss your emergency plans, and check supplies and your safe room. Be ready to act quickly if a warning is issued or you suspect a tornado is approaching. Acting early helps to save lives!

Tornado Warning – A tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. Tornado warnings indicate imminent danger to life and property. Go immediately under ground to a basement, storm cellar or an interior room (closet, hallway or bathroom).

Be prepared
During any storm, listen to local news or a NOAA Weather Radio to stay informed about tornado watches and warnings.

Pick a safe room in your home where household members and pets may gather during a tornado. This should be a basement, storm cellar or an interior room on the lowest floor with no windows.

Know your community’s warning system. Communities have different ways of warning residents about tornados, with many having sirens intended for outdoor warning purposes.

DOWNLOAD the Tornado app, then learn how to set warnings

Flood Watches and Warnings

flood warning tipsFlood/Flash Flood Watch — Flooding or flash flooding is possible in your area.

Flood/Flash Flood Warning — Flooding or flash flooding is already occurring or will occur soon in your area.

Be Prepared
Stay away from floodwaters. If you come upon a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, stop, turn around and go another way. Six inches of swiftly moving water can sweep you off of your feet.

If you come upon a flooded road while driving, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground. Most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water.

Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood danger.

DOWNLOAD the Flood App for more information.

UPDATE: We have all-inclusive Emergency App that combines more than 35 emergency alerts.

red cross emergency app