July 18 2016

Severe Thunderstorm Watch Vs. Warning - What You Should Know

By: Rich Hosford

On Monday the National Weather Service (NWS) first issued a Severe Thunderstorm Watch for much of Massachusetts, including Middlesex County. 


Shortly thereafter it issued a Severe Thunderstorm Warning for Middlesex, Norfolk and Suffolk counties. 


So what’s the difference between a watch and a warning? 


A Severe Thunderstorm Watch means that conditions are favorable for the development severe thunderstorms and people should be prepared to take action. 


If a Severe Thunderstorm Warning is issued that means a storm is imminent or occurring and people should take action. 


According to the NWS a thunderstorm is considered severe when it contains 1-inch or larger diameter hail and/or wind gusts of 58 miles per hour or greater. It can also have deadly lightning, heavy rain that can lead to flash flooding and tornadoes. 


If a thunderstorm approaches the NWS has the following advice depending on where you are: 


If you are out in the open: Seek shelter and avoid trees. If there is no shelter find a ditch, culvert or low area but beware of rising water. 


If you are indoors: Stay away from outside walks and windows by going into an interior room on the lowest level. Avoid using electrical appliances while the storm is nearby. 


If you are in a mobile home: Leave and seek safe shelter nearby. 


If you are swimming or on a boat: Get to shore as quickly as possible and find shelter. 

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