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What is a Watch and What is a Warning

Photo by: Steve Bloom

Well, there used to be a Tornado Season in the Midwest but no more. It’s basically all year round. With that said it amazes me that there are still many people who do NOT know the difference between a “Watch ” and a “Warning”.  Basically, a “Watch ” means that conditions are prevalent for the development of tornadoes and a “Warning” means that an actual tornado has been spotted or is currently developing.  With the severity of recent tornadoes like the one in Joplin, Missouri, the National Weather Service has begun to issue verbal warnings designed to scare people into protecting themselves. These new verbal warnings will primarily be used initially in Kansas and Missouri on a trial basis. The problem has been that, according to a story in Sunday’s Quincy Herald Whig, people are becoming complacent in that for every 3 out of 4 warnings issued by the National Weather Service, only one tornado is spotted.  The new warnings are designed to be more direct stating in some cases that the area “is likely to experience complete devastation”.  The thought here is to startle people enough to drive away the Boy who Cried Wolf theory so they won’t unfortunately have to find that boy later miles down the road.  When the clouds darken and the warnings interrupt your favorite song on Y101, remember it’s for your protection. Having been in three tornadoes in my lifetime, I can personally tell you… you will pray to God that your time has not come to an end.  Unfortunately, for too many recently it did.


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