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 FEMA app to receive alerts and use a NOAA weather radio to stay informed. 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.