Taking a look at the difference between a watch and a warning


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — We’ve had a pretty active run as of late, with several rounds of severe weather impacting nearly every corner of KELOLAND.

With plenty of heat and moisture in place, it doesn’t take too much to set off showers and thunderstorms during this time of year. A good number of these events that we’ve seen lately have warranted various advisory headlines. With that said, let’s break down the difference between two of the more common headlines: A watch and a warning.

The analogy I like to use in this case is called the “Cupcake Comparison”. When a severe thunderstorm or tornado watch is issued, it means that conditions are favorable for the development of either feature.

To use the cupcake comparison, that would be as if we had all the individual ingredients in place to make cupcakes, but nothing has been combined yet. When a warning is issued, it means that severe weather has been observed by radar or trained spotters. To use our comparison again, this would be as if the cupcakes have been baked and are ready to go.

Knowing the difference between a watch and a warning can help you prepare accordingly when severe weather is in the forecast.

That knowledge will be rather useful in the coming days, as strong to severe thunderstorms are possible on several occasions through the end of the week.

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