Spring is just a few days away and with it comes our primary severe weather season here in Muncie and throughout the Midwest, as well as other regions. We’ve seen everything from hailstorms to tornadoes, and know that any type of severe weather can leave damage and devastation in its wake. Being prepared and knowing what to do, BEFORE severe weather hits is one of your best defenses. It is for that reason that, for one week, every year, we have Severe Weather Preparedness Week here in Indiana!
Today’s focus is on Hazard Outlooks and Watches. So what’s a hazard outlook? What’s a watch?
What is it?
A Hazard Outlook (Hazardous Weather Outlook), is a weather statement which is issued by the National Weather Service (NWS), that gives information about severe weather potential within the next 7 days. In other words, it’s essentially telling you that severe weather, like thunderstorms or tornadoes could be possible, and there are a few alarms going off, but it’s still several days away and things could change.
When a Hazard Outlook is Issued:
-Make a plan for what to do if/when severe weather hits -Create a disaster kit/check existing disaster kit and replace/replenish as needed -Get a NOAA Weather Radio or check the batteries in your NOAA Weather Radio
What is it?
A watch is issued by the National Weather Storm Prediction Center (NWS SPC), typically several hours before a severe weather event is expected, that act as a signal to be prepared for a hazard or hazards, and be ready to take action if a warning is issued.
When a Watch is Issued:
-Watch the sky, radar, local news stations, social media, etc. and stay updated and alert to changing weather conditions -Review safety plans, make sure everybody in your house knows what to do when severe weather hits -Make sure you have your NOAA Weather radio set to receive warnings –MAKE SURE: -You know what county you are in and where you are on a weather map -You have 3 or more ways to get warnings, (not including an outdoor tornado siren, if you’re inside, because sirens aren’t designed to be heard inside!!)