PrepB4-Tornado Warning vs. Watch

In the week previous to writing this article there were tornados that took lives in more than one state. Kentucky was hit late last week and Iowa just two days before I am writing this. There have been tornados reported in Nebraska and Iowa. The efforts to help those who were affected are still underway.

Historical Weather Threatens US

With the unseasonable warm air that is around a lot of us in the midwest, there is bound to be some turbulence when winter decides it is time. Right now is the best time to be ready before you have to be!

I am writing this post to help those who do not know or are wanting to learn more about what they can do to prepare for a tornado. One of the first things you can do is know the warnings and what to do if you are threatened with this kind of weather. There is a form at the bottom of this page that you can fill out and get a free tornado preparedness checklist from

Warning vs. Watch

Typically when the weather changes you can see it coming if you are outside. It is obvious when a storm is a-brewin’. If you watch the news at all or have weather alerts set up on your phone, the American Meteorological Society has so much advanced technology that they can better predict when things like this are possible. These events can happen in an instant but if you are paying attention you can get at least some warning.

Having an NOAA Radio and using it could give you an announcement in time for you to get everyone to safety. You can get one by clicking the link.

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With NOAA Radio, you may be informed if there is a tornado Warning or a Watch. What to do in the event you hear either one of these is a little different so it helps if you know what they both mean.

WATCH means that the potential exists for the development of severe thunderstorms or tornadoes, depending upon the specific type of watch issued.

– In a Tornado Watch, this DOES NOT mean a tornado has been seen or even indicated by radar…it just means that conditions are favorable for the formation of tornadoes in thunderstorms.

– A Severe Thunderstorm Watch means that conditions are just conducive for the development of severe weather, and DOES NOT indicate that severe weather has been reported. While no immediate action on the part of the general public is required for the issuance of a watch, citizens should keep up to date on the current weather situation and be prepared to seek shelter if necessary.

WARNING, on the other hand, requires more immediate action and should be taken seriously.

– A Severe Thunderstorm Warning indicates that severe weather is imminent in your area or is already occurring (based on either human observation or doppler radar). The term severe refers to hail greater than or equal to 1.00″ in diameter and/or wind gusts that meet or exceed 58 mph. Although these storms can also be associated with dangerous cloud-to-ground lightning or heavy rainfall that is capable of causing flash flooding, neither of these two items serves as criteria for a severe thunderstorm warning being issued.

– A Tornado Warning can be thought of as a very specific severe thunderstorm warning, and means that a tornado has been either spotted by a human observer or indicated by doppler radar. Similar to a severe thunderstorm warning, once a tornado warning is issued for your area, you should take cover immediately…as the likelihood of you being directly impacted by a tornado is at a heightened risk.

Now What?

Now that you know the difference, what should you do?

If there is a watch announced, this means that conditions are favorable right? This is the time to get ready. If you do not already have a plan you at least need to identify the safest spot for you to go if a tornado does form. Get everyone together and be ready before you have to be!

We are close enough to the ones that hit Kentucky last week, at 3 am I woke to the wind howling and tree branches snapping and hitting the house. The first thing we did was get the kids rounded up and on the couch. IT is on the opposite side of the house from the direction the wind was coming.

It wasn’t time to go to the basement but I knew where everyone was. I watched the weather for a while and we ended up fine, without power, but fine.

If there is a WARNING, this is time to find shelter. This means there has been a tornado sited. It is confirmed there is a tornado, seek shelter. Find a spot in a sturdy building, away from windows and doors. Below ground is best. Mobile homes are not safe even if properly tied down.

Knowing what to do and where you will go should be something you think of before you are in this situation.

Want to Know More?

I am always posting on this site to help folks be ready before they have to be! If you would like to learn more, check out my YouTube Channel PrepB4. I have more useful information on how you can learn and Live Ready! Here is a video relevant to this post.

I hope this helps! If you have any questions, feel free to reach out, leave a comment. I will respond! You can also fill out the form below, there are a few steps to it, I had to do a little workaround to get his download out for free but it is free! You can download this tornado preparedness checklist and have it right away!

Stay safe and be ready before you have to be!


PrepB4, Tornado
Free Checklist For Tornado Preparedness

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