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...Differences Between a Watch and a Warning...
A severe thunderstorm watch or a tornado watch is issued when atmospheric conditions are favorable for the development of severe weather. Specifically... A severe thunderstorm watch is issued when the primary concern is for large hail and/or damaging thunderstorm winds. 1 inch (Quarter-sized) or larger hail is considered severe, as is thunderstorm wind gusts of 58 mph or stronger. A tornado watch is issued when severe weather is expected, which also includes the possibility of large and/or multiple tornadoes. After coordinating with affected National Weather Service forecast offices, the watch is issued by the storm prediction center in Norman, Oklahoma. The typical size of a watch area is twenty five thousand square miles and usually takes the shape of a four-sided polygon. The watch typically lasts for six to eight hours. When a watch is issued, it is important to be on the alert for threatening weather and be prepared to move quickly to safety when severe weather develops. Severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings are issued by local National Weather Service forecast offices when severe thunderstorms or tornadoes are imminent, either as indicated by doppler radar or when observed & reported by reliable sources such as Skywarn spotters. A warning usually covers a portion of one to several counties (or parishes) and normally lasts for an hour or less. Pay close attention to the information contained in the warning and take immediate action to protect yourselves. Warnings include important details such as which locations are at greatest risk and what measures you should take to protect yourself. Remember: In a watch...watch the sky. In a warning...take action to protect yourself.

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