Know Your Watches and Warnings

Now, that we’ve discussed the basics of hurricanes, the components of such storms, where they form, their stages of development, and what factors influence their development or decay, it’s time to learn the differences between the various watches and warnings used for tropical systems such as hurricanes.

Tropical Storm Watch – Signals tropical storm conditions, or winds 39 mph or greater are possible in the watch area within 36 hours.

Tropical Storm Warning – Indicates that tropical storm force winds between 34 to 63 knots (39 to 73 mph), are expected in the warned area within 24 hours.

Hurricane Watch – This implies that hurricane conditions, or winds 74 mph or greater are possible in the watch area within 36 hours.

Hurricane Warning – Suggests that hurricane-force winds of 64 knots (74 mph) or greater are expected in the warned area within 24 hours. This warning can remain in effect if there is still dangerously high water, or a combination of high water and waves even though hurricane-force winds have subsided.

Flooding from Hurricane Irene in the neighborhood surrounding Greg’s Weather Center in South Plainfield, New Jersey on the morning of August 28, 2011.