• Watch vs Warning: What you need to know

    By: Megan McClellan


    Whether it is time for a family review of your severe weather plan or you just moved to Green Country, it is key to know the different types of watches and warnings seen in Oklahoma.

    The difference between a watch and a warning is the timing and the action that needs to be taken.

    WATCH means conditions are favorable for a weather event to happen and highlights a large area of counties that could see those storms.

    • It lets you know that now is the time to be “weather aware” and keep an eye on the changing conditions.
    • Keep your radio, television, or mobile device nearby and charged.
    • A Severe Thunderstorm Watch means that storms with at least 58mph winds and/or quarter size hail or larger are possible in any storm that forms.
    • A Tornado Watch means that conditions are favorable for a tornado to form in any severe storm that develops.

    A WARNING means that the storm has already formed and you need to take action now.

    • Warnings are much more serious than watches.
    • A Severe Thunderstorm Warning means large hail and damaging winds are likely in the storm, and you should head indoors immediately and stay away from windows.
    • Remember that a tornado can still form at any time from a Severe Thunderstorm Warning, so take shelter inside every time you see this warning issued.
    • A Tornado Warning means a tornado has been spotted, or radar indicates a tornado could form at any time or is already occurring.
    • You should find shelter immediately if you hear this warning for your area.

    It is important to know that outdoor tornado sirens are meant primarily for outdoor use. (For example: to warn you if you’re outside at soccer practice with your kids or for workers that are located outside/) You may not hear the tornado siren if you’re in your home, especially if you’re asleep.



    There are several ways to receive weather information: television, radio, NOAA weather radios, or even mobile apps.

    Having multiple ways to receive weather information and alerts will give you built in backup plans should you lose power.

    Weather radios can be bought at most hardware stores and are relatively easy to program.

    The FOX23 Weather App allows you to receive alerts, track the storms down to street level and watch live as the FOX23 Severe Weather Team tracks the storms moving through. You can download the FOX23 Weather App here.

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