By Scott Connell

ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - With severe weather season right around the corner, it's time to "take 5" and get prepared.

Knowing there is a threat for severe weather and where that threat is key to staying safe.

Severe thunderstorm and tornado watches are issued by the Storm Prediction Center when conditions are favorable for severe weather to develop. A watch means you should be alert for the potential of severe storms developing.

Severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings are issued by the local National Weather Service Forecast Offices. When warnings are issued it means severe weather is already happening or will be soon.

Immediate action should be taken to protect life and property. Warnings don't always include an entire county. Many times it is just a part of a county that is under the warning, which is why it is important to get more information when severe weather is threatening.

Most of the warnings for our counties originate from the Forecast Office in Weldon Spring. But the forecast offices in Lincoln, Illinois; Paducah, Kentucky; and Springfield, Missouri issue warnings for some of the outlying counties.

It's also important to know where your county is on the warning map and what the shape of your county looks like. This will help identify whether you are under a watch or warning.

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