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Wyoming Weather: The Difference Between A Thunderstorm Watch & Warning

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If you follow the weather (or have been outside at all today), then you’re probably aware that Natrona County is under a Severe Thunderstorm Watch until 7:00pm tonight (June 13th, 2013). As I’m sure we all have the general knowledge of what that implies, what is the difference between a Thunderstorm Watch and a Thunderstorm Warning? I’m glad you asked.

Here are the definitions of the two by National Weather Service Glossary:

A Severe Thunderstorm Watch is issued when weather conditions are favorable for the development of severe thunderstorms. If thunderstorms are expected to be of sufficient strength such that there is a significant risk that they may produce tornadoes, then a Tornado Watch (which also automatically implies that severe thunderstorms are possible) is issued. A watch does not necessarily mean that severe weather is actually occurring, only that atmospheric conditions have created a significant risk for severe weather to occur.

Severe Thunderstorm Warning  is issued when trained storm spotters or a Doppler Weather Radar indicate a strong thunderstorm is producing dangerously large hail or high winds, capable of causing significant damage. In the United States, it does not account for lightning, a significant hazard in any thunderstorm, or flooding caused by a severe thunderstorm’s extreme rainfall (a Flood Advisory or Flash Flood Warning is issued in this case).


Now that we know the difference, let’s hope that Natrona County stays at the “Watch” level.



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