St. John Fire Department
Be prepared for an emergency situation, severe weather, or disaster.
- Warnings vs. Watches
- Weather Warning System/Severe Weather & Tornadoes
- Know Winter Weather Conditions Terms
- Other Severe Weather Scenarios
Watch vs. Warning vs. Advisory
Following are the National Weather Service definitions for watch, warning, and advisory.
These terms form the basis for each product issued to the public.
A watch is issued when the risk of a hazardous weather or hydrologic event has increased significantly, but its occurrence, location, and/or timing is still uncertain. It is intended to provide enough lead time so those who need to set their plans in motion can do so. Watches evolve into warnings, advisories, or they are canceled.
These products are issued when a hazardous weather or hydrologic event is occurring, is imminent, or has a very high probability of occurrence. A warning is used for conditions posing a threat to life or property. The NWS is the single "official" voice when issuing warnings for lifethreatening situations.
An advisory is for less serious conditions that cause significant inconvenience and, if caution is not exercised, could lead to situations that may threaten life and/or property.