The difference between a watch and a warning

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - You may hear a lot about watches and warnings when we discuss the weather, but what do they mean?

A watch means there is a risk of hazardous weather, so have a plan in case a storm threatens. A warning means the event is occurring, imminent or likely, and to take action now to save property and lives. 

So, lets say a Tornado Watch is issued for the whole viewing area, but there are no thunderstorms. We will cut in every 30 minutes or hour to say we are watching the situation. 

Now, a Tornado Warning is issued, and for this example, let's say it is in Clay County. The lives of the people in Smithville, Gladstone and Liberty are in danger. So, we will go on continuously until the threat of a tornado is over. The warning covers just 1 percent of the viewing area. Wouldn't you want us on continuously keeping you updated on the fast-changing weather conditions if you and/or your family was in the 1 percent of the viewing area where your lives were in danger?

------

Print this article Back to Top