Tornado Watch and Warning Differences

Operation Enduring Collaboration

Briefings have begun this week for Operation Enduring Collaboration next week. The briefings cover logistics and the "rules" of the three-day exercise. Multiple county departments will be participating as well as other entities such as county school staff, hospitals, American Red Cross, Virginia Department of Emergency Management, Virginia Department of Transportation and Volunteer Fairfax.

As county staff is briefed this week on the logistics of our three-day emergency exercise next week, we want to continue our conversation about tornadoes.

We previously described how to recognize tornado danger signs, especially if you do not have access to a source of information such as social media, weather radio or television.

If you do have access to information, the National Weather Service will issue tornado watches and/or warnings. What’s the difference?

Tornado Watch – Conditions are favorable for a tornado and that tornadoes are possible.     

Tornado Warning – A tornado has been sighted or has been indicated by National Weather Service Doppler radar and might be headed your way. When a warning is issued, take cover immediately.   

Here’s a video from the National Weather Service with more details (and to learn how watches and warnings are made):

About Fairfax County Emergency Information

Official emergency information about preparedness, response and recovery from Fairfax County Government.

2 responses to “Tornado Watch and Warning Differences”

  1. roadnottaken says :

    I still say it’s a bad pair of words to use. It’s just as logical to think, “Warning – a tornado could form” and “Watch out – here comes a tornado”.

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