Be Informed!

Do you know what natural and man-made risks are in your area?  Click on the links below to learn more!

Excessive Heat Biological
Fire Chemical
Floods Explosions
Severe Storms Nuclear Blast
Tornado Radiation
Winter  

Do you have a weather radio in your home or receive weather alerts on your cell phone?  Weather radios and cell phones are excellent ways to stay in tune with the weather in your area.  If you don't have a weather radio or receive weather alerts via cell phone, now is the time to purchase your weather radio or visit local news station websites to sign up for weather alerts.

Learn the Lingo!

The National Weather Service may issue the following statements for your area including, but not limited to:

  • Warning: A warning is issued when a hazardous weather or hydrologic event is occurring, is imminent, or has a very high probability of occurring.  A warning is used for conditions posing a threat to life or property.
     
  • Watch: A watch is used when the risk of a hazardous weather or hydrologic event has increased significantly, but its occurrence, location, and/or timing is still uncertain. It is intended to provide enough lead time so that those who need to set their plans in motion can do so.
     
  • Tornado Emergency: An exceedingly rare tornado warning issued when there is a severe threat to human life and catastrophic damage from an imminent or ongoing tornado. This tornado warning is reserved for situations when a reliable source confirms a tornado, or there is clear radar evidence of the existence of a damaging tornado, such as the observation of debris.
     
  • Tornado Warning: This is issued when a tornado is indicated by the WSR-88D radar or sighted by spotters; therefore, people in the affected area should seek safe shelter immediately. They can be issued without a Tornado Watch being already in effect. Their duration is usually around 30 minutes.

    A Tornado Warning is issued by your local National Weather Service office (NWFO). It will include where the tornado was located and what towns will be in its path. If the tornado will affect the near-shore or coastal waters, it will be issued as the combined product--Tornado Warning and Special Marine Warning. If the thunderstorm which is causing the tornado is also producing torrential rains, this warning may also be combined with a Flash Flood Warning. If there is an ampersand (&) symbol at the bottom of the warning, it indicates that the warning was issued as a result of a severe weather report.

    After it has been issued, the affected NWFO will follow it up periodically with Severe Weather Statements. These statements will contain updated information on the tornado and they will also let the public know when warning is no longer in effect.
  • Tornado Watch: This is issued by the National Weather Service when conditions are favorable for the development of tornadoes in and close to the watch area. Their size can vary depending on the weather situation. Their duration is usually four to eight hours. They normally are issued well in advance of the actual occurrence of severe weather. During the watch, people should review tornado safety rules and be prepared to move a place of safety if threatening weather approaches.

    A Tornado Watch is issued by the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) in Norman, Oklahoma. Prior to the issuance of a Tornado Watch, SPC will usually contact the affected local National Weather Forecast Office (NWFO) and they will discuss what their current thinking is on the weather situation. Afterwards, SPC will issue a preliminary Tornado Watch and then the affected NWFO will then adjust the watch (adding or eliminating counties/parishes) and then issue it to the public. After adjusting the watch, the NWFO will let the public know which counties are included by way of a Watch Redefining Statement. During the watch, the NWFO will keep the public informed on what is happening in the watch area and also let the public know when the watch has expired or been cancelled.

     
  • Flash Flood Warning:  Issued to inform the public, emergency management and other cooperating agencies that flash flooding is in progress, imminent, or highly likely.
     
  • Flash Flood Watch: Issued to indicate current or developing hydrologic conditions that are favorable for flash flooding in and close to the watch area, but the occurrence is neither certain or imminent.
     
  •  Flood Warning FLW):  In hydrologic terms, a release by the NWS to inform the public of flooding along larger streams in which there is a serious threat to life or property. A flood warning will usually contain river stage (level) forecasts.
     
  • Flood Watch: Issued to inform the public and cooperating agencies that current and developing hydro-meteorological conditions are such that there is a threat of flooding, but the occurrence is neither certain nor imminent.
     
  • Wind Advisory: Sustained winds 25 to 39 mph and/or gusts to 57 mph. Issuance is normally site specific. However, winds of this magnitude occurring over an area that frequently experiences such winds.
     
  • Severe Thunderstorm Warning: This is issued when either a severe thunderstorm is indicated by the WSR-88D radar or a spotter reports a thunderstorm producing hail one inch or larger in diameter and/or winds equal or exceed 58 miles an hour; therefore, people in the affected area should seek safe shelter immediately. Severe thunderstorms can produce tornadoes with little or no advance warning. Lightning frequency is not a criteriaon for issuing a severe thunderstorm warning. Their duration is usually around one hour. They can be issued without a Severe Thunderstorm Watch being already in effect.

    Like a Tornado Warning, the Severe Thunderstorm Warning is issued by your National Weather Service Forecast Office (NWFO). Severe Thunderstorm Warnings will include where the storm was located, what towns will be affected by the severe thunderstorm, and the primary threat associated with the severe thunderstorm warning. If the severe thunderstorm will affect the near-shore or coastal waters, it will be issued as the combined product--Severe Thunderstorm Warning and Special Marine Warning. If the severe thunderstorm is also causing torrential rains, this warning may also be combined with a Flash Flood Warning. If there is an ampersand (&) symbol at the bottom of the warning, it indicates that the warning was issued as a result of a severe weather report.

    After it has been issued, the affected NWFO will follow it up periodically with Severe Weather Statements. These statements will contain updated information on the severe thunderstorm and they will also let the public know when the warning is no longer in effect.

     
  • Severe Thunderstorm Watch: This is issued by the National Weather Service when conditions are favorable for the development of severe thunderstorms in and close to the watch area. A severe thunderstorm by definition is a thunderstorm that produces one inch hail or larger in diameter and/or winds equal or exceed 58 miles an hour. The size of the watch can vary depending on the weather situation. Their duration is usually four to eight hours. They are normally issued well in advance of the actual occurrence of severe weather. During the watch, people should review severe thunderstorm safety rules and be prepared to move a place of safety if threatening weather approaches.

    A Severe Thunderstorm Watch is issued by the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma. Prior to the issuance of a Severe Thunderstorm Watch, SPC will usually contact the affected local National Weather Service Forecast Office (NWFO) and they will discuss what their current thinking is on the weather situation. Afterwards, SPC will issue a preliminary Severe Thunderstorm Watch and then the affected NWFO will then adjust the watch (adding or eliminating counties/parishes) and then issue it to the public by way of a Watch Redefining Statement. During the watch, the NWFO will keep the public informed on what is happening in the watch area and also let the public know when the watch has expired or been cancelled.

     
  • Severe Weather Statement:  A National Weather Service product which provides follow up information on severe weather conditions (severe thunderstorm or tornadoes) which have occurred or are currently occurring.

Reference: www.weather.gov/glossary, accessed February 24, 2012.

Challenge!

This month's challenge is to be informed!  Purchase a weather radio or sign up for alerts via your cell phone.  Complete this challenge and post "I'm informed!" to our Facebook page (Kansas Division of Emergency Management) to be entered into a prize drawing!


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