CHICAGO - Understanding severe weather watches and warningswill help to keep you and your family safe during a disaster. FEMA and the National Weather Service (NWS) encourage everyone to learn this life-saving information and act if extreme weather threatens their area.
NWS alerts that are used to warn of severe weather, flood and tornado hazards include:
• Severe Thunderstorm Watch - Tells you when and where severe thunderstorms are likely to occur. Watch the sky and stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio or television for information.
• Severe Thunderstorm Warning - Issued when severe weather has been reported by spotters or indicated by radar. Warnings indicate imminent danger to life and property to those in the path of the storm. Gather family members and pets and take shelter immediately. Have your emergency supply kit ready and continue to monitor your NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio or television for more information.
• Tornado Watch - Tornadoes are possible. Remain alert for approaching storms. Watch the sky and stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio or television for information.
• Tornado Warning - A tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. Take shelter immediately.
• Flood Watch - Flooding is possible. Tune in to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio or television for information.
• Flash Flood Watch - Flash flooding is possible. Be prepared to move to higher ground; listen to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio or television for information.
• Flood Warning - Flooding is occurring or will occur soon; if advised to evacuate, do so immediately.
• Flash Flood Warning - A flash flood is occurring; seek higher ground on foot immediately. Do not attempt to drive into flooded areas or walk through moving water.
Be aware that sirens are designed as an outdoor warning system only to alert those who are outside that something dangerous is approaching. A NOAA Weather Radio can be critical to ensure you’re alerted to dangerous weather when indoors.
“The National Weather Service provides accurate and timely warnings and advisories, but they are only effective if people receive them, understand their risk, and take the correct action to protect themselves,” said Teri Schwein, Acting Central Region Director, National Weather Service. “Everyone should make time to prepare themselves before severe weather strikes by signing up for local weather emergency alerts, understanding NWS warnings and developing an emergency action plan.”
“Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs) sent to a mobile device are also used to notify individuals of potentially dangerous weather conditions,” said Andrew Velasquez, regional administrator, FEMA Region V. “If you have a WEA-capable phone and your wireless carrier participates in the program, this will enable you to be immediately aware of potentially life-threatening emergencies.”
You can find more information about WEA at www.fema.gov/wireless-emergency-alerts, and for valuable tips to help you prepare for severe weather visit www.ready.gov/severe-weatheror download the free FEMA app, available for your Android, Apple or Blackberry device.
FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards. Follow FEMA online at twitter.com/femaregion5, www.facebook.com/fema, and www.youtube.com/fema. Also, follow Administrator Craig Fugate's activities at twitter.com/craigatfema. The social media links provided are for reference only. FEMA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies or applications.
Media Contact:Cassie Ringsdorf, 312-408-4455