Thursday, September 30, 2010

Tornado Watch Canceled: What the Heck Is a Tornado Watch Anyway?

The tornado watch for the District of Columbia has been canceled. But the forecast for heavy rains, flooding, and possible flash floods continues, so keep an eye to the sky.

What is a tornado watch anyway? Or a severe thunderstorm watch, or any "watch?"

A "watch" means that conditions are favorable for the formation of tornadoes or other severe weather. It means you should be on guard, with your emergency weather radio tuned in or your weather app for your smartphone ready and able to receive alerts, should the watch become a "warning."

A warning means that a tornado, severe thunderstorm, flash flood or other dangerous weather has been spotted. Warning actually means alert, because there's something really bad heading your way. A warning means that a tornado, for example, has been spotted on the ground or on radar. So if you hear "tornado warning," think "tornado alert!" and take appropriate precautions.

Severe thunderstorms, the kind that often down power lines, are thunderstorms that produce hail an inch in diameter and that have winds 58 miles per hour or greater.

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