A tornado watch and a tornado warning might sound like the same thing but they are not. Tornadoes can form at any time and can occur anywhere in the country, though they are more common in the southern and central plains regions, according to the National Weather Service.
Buildings and other objects can be destroyed by intense weather phenomena, which can also launch them like deadly missiles.
A powerful tornado advanced through Arkansas capital and surrounding areas on Friday causing rooftops to collapse, damaging cars and debris to turn up on the roadsides. It also claimed at least two lives and left a dozen others wounded, CBS news reported.
Many people were said to be experiencing a power outage in Arkansas by Friday night as a result of severe weather, according to PowerOutage.US.
So, what do the notifications that the National Weather Service publishes signify? When should one be alert, when should one act, and when should one seek shelter from a storm?
According to the NWS, tornado watches are warnings to be vigilant and ready to take action. In other words, the weather "favours thunderstorms capable of producing tornadoes" which means dangerous tornadoes are a possibility.
To give people time to prepare in case a tornado is sighted and a warning is issued, tornado watches are often issued at least one hour before expected risky weather and up to eight hours in advance, according to a report from USA Today.
According to the NWS, a warning denotes a serious threat. When a tornado has been seen or detected by weather radar, a tornado warning is issued.
The NWS advises relocating immediately to the lowest floor of a sturdy building and away from windows when a tornado warning is issued. Get the closest sturdy shelter you can if you are in a car or mobile home.
A watch is less severe than a tornado warning. A tornado was either detected or is about to occur when a warning is issued, therefore there is immediate danger. A watch implies that there is a chance of tornadoes in the area, as per the NWS.
If there is a watch, it is like we have the ingredients to cook tacos, but if there is a warning, it's like we are eating the tacos right now.
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