What Is Severe Weather?
Large HailSevere thunderstorms often produce large hail. Such hail has been known to damage vehicles, crops and roofs. By large, the National Weather Service looks for hail that is at least the size of a penny...or 3/4 inch in diameter.
Damaging WindsSevere thunderstorms also produce damaging winds on occasion. These winds have downed trees, large tree limbs and power lines. Some structural damage has also resulted. Wind speeds of 58 mph or greater are considered severe.
TornadoesNot surprisingly, tornadoes (whether they cause damage or not) are considered severe.
Tornado Watches: Watches imply that the weather threat in question is possible. Forecasters have determined that the threat may occur given trends shown by the latest data. Watches are usually broad in scope.
Tornado Warnings: Warnings imply that the severe weather threat in question is imminent. Forecasters have determined that the threat will occur given trends shown by the latest data. Warnings are narrow in scope...and issued on a county by county basis.
How do you receive watches and warnings from the National Weather Service (NWS)? The NWS has its own radio network with weather information presented 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. NOAA Weather Radio is considered the voice of the National Weather Service.