Understand Severe Weather Terms
Understanding severe weather terms can help you and your loved ones prepare.
- Hurricane Warning: show the onset of hurricane conditions expected in the warning area within the next 48 hours.
- During a hurricane warning: complete storm preparation;
- leave the affected area if directed by local officials.
- Hurricane Watch: issued when a hurricane with sustained winds of 74 mph (65 knots, 118 km/h) or higher is possible.
- Severe Thunderstorm Watch: there is a possibility that severe thunderstorms may occur in your area.
- Severe Thunderstorm Warning: a severe thunderstorm is occurring or will likely occur soon in your area.
- Flash Flood Watch: due to heavy or excessive rainfall in a short period of time, your area may experience flooding.
- Flash Flood Warning: Flash flooding is in progress, imminent, or highly likely. Seek higher ground immediately or evacuate if directed to do so.
- Tornado Watch: Tornadoes are possible in your area. Remain alert for approaching storms.
- Tornado Warning: A tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. Take shelter immediately.
Prepare For Severe Weather
Download the Ready Virginia mobile app to stay up to date on changing conditions. More steps that you can take to keep yourself and loved ones safe include:
- An emergency kit prepared with supplies. Include things such as:
- Alternate fuel source for heating your home,
- Flashlights and batteries,
- Food that needs no cooking or refrigeration,
- 3 day supply of water,
- Prescription medicines,
- Battery operated radio,
- Flashlights, and
- Cell phone chargers.
- Prepare your car with emergency supplies. Have maintenance service on your vehicle as often as the manufacturer recommends.
- Check batteries in smoke detectors and carbon monoxide monitors.
- Update important documents: insurance information and home inventory. Store them in your emergency kit or a waterproof container.