x
Breaking News
More () »

Cleveland's Leading Local News: Weather, Traffic, Sports and more | Cleveland, Oh | WKYC.com

When are hurricane/tropical storm watches and warnings issued? What do they mean?

Tampa Bay could begin seeing watches and warnings issued this weekend.
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto
A sign directs hurricane evacuees to safety.

TAMPA, Fla. — With a potential hurricane impacting Tampa Bay early next week, it’s important to be prepared. 

Part of that preparation should be understanding what it means when a hurricane or tropical storm watch or warning is issued.

First, understand that a warning means that tropical storm or hurricane conditions are expected whereas a watch means that conditions are possible.

Tropical Storm Watch: A Tropical Storm Watch is issued when a tropical cyclone containing winds of 39 to 73 mph or higher is possible, generally within 48 hours. These winds may be accompanied by storm surge, coastal flooding, and/or river flooding. 

Tropical Storm Warning: A Tropical Storm Warning is issued when sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph or higher associated with a tropical cyclone are expected in 36 hours or less. These winds may be accompanied by storm surge, coastal flooding, and/or river flooding.

Hurricane Watch: A hurricane watch means that hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or higher) are possible within the specified area. A hurricane watch is issued 48 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds in an area.

Hurricane Warning: Hurricane warnings indicate that hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or higher) are expected somewhere within the warned area. Because hurricane preparedness activities become difficult once winds reach tropical storm force (sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph), the hurricane warning is issued 36 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds to allow for important preparation.

What to do during a watch: During a watch, prepare your home and review your plan for evacuation in case a hurricane or tropical storm warning is issued. Listen closely to instructions from local officials.

What to do during a warning: During a warning, complete storm preparations and immediately leave the threatened area if directed by local officials.

What other people are reading right now:

►Breaking news and weather alerts: Get the free 10 Tampa Bay app

Stay In the Know! Sign up now for the Brightside Blend Newsletter