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What Counts as Severe Weather?

Closeup on warning sign of danger in front of a flooded road

Have you ever seen a severe weather advisory, watch, or warning pop up on your favorite weather app? These alerts from the National Weather Service (NWS) help you prepare to protect life and property when severe weather is on the way.

Watch vs. Warning vs. Advisory

A “Watch” means conditions are favorable for severe weather to occur—start preparing now.

A “Warning” means hazardous weather is expected or already occurring—take shelter immediately.

An “Advisory” means inconvenient weather conditions are expected or already occurring—use caution.

Tornadoes & Thunderstorms

Tornadoes are violently rotating columns of air that occur in the spring and summer. Even if there’s no funnel cloud, the lightning, wind, and hail from a thunderstorm can be plenty destructive. Watch out for these alerts:

Floods

Floods cause more damage than any other type of storm. They can be caused by everything from falling rain to melting snow to coastal storms. Here are the alerts to be aware of:

  • Flood Watch or Warning
  • Flash Flood Watch or Warning
  • River Flood Watch or Warning
  • Coastal Flood Watch, Warning, or Advisory

Winter Weather

Winter storms are considered severe when they involve significant snowfall, ice accumulation, and/or a damaging combination of snow, ice, and wind. Different winter weather alerts include:

  • Winter Weather Advisory
  • Winter Storm Watch or Warning
  • Blizzard Warning
  • Ice Storm Warning
  • Freeze Watch or Warning
  • Frost Advisory
  • Wind Chill Advisory or Warning

High Wind

Strong gusts can be incredibly damaging to homes and other buildings, even without rain, snow, or hail. High winds can also down power lines and cause blackouts. The alerts you should know include:

  • Wind Advisory
  • High Wind Watch or Warning
  • Extreme Wind Warning
  • Hurricane Force Wind Warning

Fire Weather

A combination of low humidity and high wind constitutes fire weather. Avoid outdoor activities that could cause a spark if fire weather alerts are issued in your area, including:

  • Fire Weather Watch
  • Red Flag Warning

Excessive Heat

When the heat index reaches or exceeds 105 degrees, people and animals may be in danger of heatstroke and other health problems. Retreat to an air-conditioned building if you receive any of these alerts:

  • Excessive Heat Watch or Warning
  • Heat Advisory

Tropical Storms & Hurricanes

Tropical storms involve winds of 39 to 73 mph, while hurricanes contain 74 mph or higher winds. If you live near the coast, take the following alerts seriously:

  • Tropical Storm Watch or Warning
  • Hurricane Watch or Warning

If your home is damaged in a storm, turn to DKI for help. Our team will arrive onsite within two hours of receiving an emergency call to begin assessing the damage. We aim to relieve some of your stress during this time as you begin the recovery process. Call our emergency restoration company at 877-533-0210 or contact us online to request severe weather restoration services today.