Advisory, Watch & Warning

Many people are confused by the meanings of "Advisories", "Watches", and "Warnings" in relation to weather statements issued by the National Weather Service. Only the National Weather Service can issue these three statements, if you hear the Weather Channel or other media outlet mentioning them it is because they were issued by the National Weather Service first. Each of these three statements have different meanings, and as such you and your family should react differently to each.

A yellow, orange and red bar corresponding with advisories, watches and warnings.


Advisories are informational statements. They are a "heads up" that you may want to take the weather into account when planning your day. Examples are snow advisories in winter. They aren't dangerous, but they may make you change your travel plans.


Watches are issued when conditions are favorable for a severe weather event. When a watch is in effect for your area, you should begin preparing for any actions you may need to take should the severe weather event occur.


Warnings are issued when a severe weather event is occurring or is imminent. If a warning is issued for your area immediately take action. If it is a flood warning, get to higher ground. If it is a tornado warning, get to the lowest point in your home.