Winter Storm Watch vs. Winter Storm Warning: What’s the Difference?
According to the National Weather Service in Binghamton, virtually all of the Southern Tier area is under a Winter Storm Warning from the afternoon hours of Thursday, November 15, 2018, to the late morning hours of Friday, November 16, 2018. But what does that mean? What's the difference between a watch and a warning?
According to Weather Works, a WATCH means that conditions are perfect for dangerous weather. In other words, a WATCH means WATCH out for what the weather could do and be prepared for the chance for some crazy stuff to go down. For events that come and go quickly like severe thunderstorms, tornadoes or flash floods- a WATCH means that the odds are good for some pretty dangerous weather, but it’s not happening yet. For longer events like hurricanes or winter storms, a WATCH means that the storm isn’t an immediate threat but could become one so you should prepare by stocking up and should know what to do if the WATCH turns into a WARNING.
On the other hand, Weather Works explains that a WARNING means that dangerous weather is happening right now, right where you are. For severe thunderstorms, tornadoes and flash floods, a WARNING means it’s going down and it’s going down right this second. A winter storm WARNING means- don’t even think about leaving your house/business/school wherever because it’s not safe to go outside. If you’re traveling when a WARNING is issued, you need to not try to fight the storm, but instead, find a place to hang out until the worst of it is over.
How to Remember the Difference Between a Watch and a Warning
I always associate a watch with keeping an eye on things (you know, you watch things with your eyes). A warning has an "i" which can stand for "imminent" or "is" happening right now.