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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Important NWS Weather Terms

3/16/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Important NWS Weather Terms Watch or Warning? Which one's worse?

The National Weather Service (NWS) uses several terms for categorizing weather threats and their severity. The following terms should help you assess the level of threat when you hear the NWS is issuing alerts in your area.


A warning alerts you to the highest level of risk as it is occurring.

The NWS issues a warning when a weather event is actually happening and poses a threat to people and property. If you are located in the area of a warning you should take action to lower your risk and protect yourself and your property.


A watch alerts you in advance to a risk that has not yet risen to the highest level.

The NWS issues a watch when a weather event that may pose a threat to people and property is highly likely but specifics like time and location are uncertain. Watches give you advance notice so you can make preparations to minimize the risk to yourself and your property.


An advisory may be issued before or during a weather event when conditions are less serious than for a watch or warning. Advisories can help you exercise the proper caution to prevent weather disturbances from causing life-threatening situations.

Take Heed of Weather Alerts

Keep in mind, these terms can be very general and may apply to a wide area. Localized flooding and wind events may be more or less severe than the general weather pattern. Also, the weather may change suddenly. You should always follow up-to-date reports from local authorities when choosing your strategy to survive the weather. 

Should your property suffer a flood or other weather damage during a storm, be sure to call SERVPRO® of Lexington-Bedford to make it “Like it never even happened.”

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