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Weather Watches and Warnings (Infographic)

March 23, 2016


When it comes to weather, Mother Nature is in charge. Whether it be a Watch or Warning, knowing the difference may save your life. Prepare, seek shelter and stay safe when wicked weather threatens.

Severe Thunderstorm Watch: There's the potential for severe thunderstorms to develop. Be ready to act if a warning is issued.

Severe Thunderstorm Warning: Severe weather indicates imminent danger to life and/or property - this includes potential for large hail, lightning, damaging winds, flash flooding and tornadoes.

Tornado Watch: Weather conditions are capable of producing tornadoes.

Tornado Warning: A tornado is sighted or indicated by radar. Seek shelter immediately.

Flash Flood Watch: Conditions are favorable for flash flooding or flooding in the watch area. Be alert.

Flash Flood Warning: A flash flood is imminent or occurring can only take a few minutes to develop.

Fire Weather Watch: Conditions may result in either numerous fire starts or extreme fire behavior within the next 24 to 72 hours.

Red Flag Warning: Fire conditions are ongoing or expected to occur within the next 24 hours.

2015 United States Natural Hazard Statistics

  • Lightning: There are about 25 million lightning strikes in the United States each year
    • The average lightning bolt is about 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit – about 5x hotter than the sun’s surface
  • Tornado: 924 injuries from tornadoes
    • Tornadoes caused $316 million in property damage in 2015
  • Floods:
    • Floods caused $2.7 billion in property damage in 2014
    • Tip: 6” of flood water can sweep you off your feet
    • U.S. Flood Victim Activities in 2014 (latest year available)
      • Driving 66%
      • Walking 7%
      • Fell in 12%
      • Fishing 3%
      • Playing 5%
      • Other 7%
  • Wildfires:
    • 10 million acres burned in 2015
    • 4,636 structures destroyed
    • 68,151 wildfires reported nationally—a record year

Plan ahead to ensure you're prepared when wicked weather strikes. Call your Farm Bureau agent to talk about your current insurance policies.

National Weather Service, National Interagency Coordination Center
National Weather Service