Sunday Story: Watches and Warnings

The timing of this going to print this week in the papers was uncanny. We really dodged a bullet with yesterday’s storms. Heck, everyone did. This could have been a terrible tornado outbreak for West TN, but it just didn’t come together. Still, there are folks cleaning up this morning and we can’t forget those who are still reeling from the destruction of last Sunday night’s storms.

The only reports of tornadoes in TN that I can find from yesterday’s storms are a couple of reports along the TN/Mississippi border. Only minor damage was reported.

This week’s Sunday Story deals with severe weather watches and warnings. I hope you enjoy and I hope you learn something!

Watches and Warnings

Severe weather season is upon us and we will soon be dealing with storm threats. That means there will likely be severe watches and warnings issued for our area.

A severe thunderstorm or tornado watch means conditions are favorable for severe weather. That means we are watching the sky for any development that will send us to shelter. The ingredients for severe weather are there, but they just haven’t come together yet. It’s like mixing your cake batter and pouring it in the pan, then watching it bake in the oven. It’s not a cake yet, but your watching it become one!

A warning, on the other hand, means severe weather is happening. You’ve now taken the cake out of the oven and are warning everyone to stay away from it (until you’ve had your piece!).

In other words,  a watch means you are watching for bad weather. A warning means you have been warned to take cover.

All severe weather watches come from the experts at the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma. The multi-million dollar research facility on the campus of Oklahoma University houses some of the brightest minds in the severe weather business.

All of our warnings come from the National Weather Service in Nashville, Tennessee. That office covers all of Middle Tennessee, including the Cumberland Plateau.

A severe thunderstorm has winds over 58 mph and/or hail that is one inch or larger. A tornado warning is issued if a storm shows strong rotation on radar or if a tornado has been spotted.

The peak severe weather season for our area is March, April, and May. Now is a good time to review your severe weather plan!


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