Severe thunderstorm watches and warnings - what's the difference?

Tropical Storm Colin heads east
Posted at 2:20 PM, May 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-07 14:20:02-04

Weather Wise
Do you know the difference between a Severe Thunderstorm Watch and a Severe Thunderstorm Warning?

Severe Thunderstorm Watch: Be Prepared!
Severe thunderstorms are possible within and around the watch area. Stay informed and be ready to act if a warning is issued. The watch area is typically large, covering numerous counties or even states. Watches are usually issued well in advance of the actual severe weather threat by the Storm Prediction Center with local input from the National Weather Service (NWS).

Severe Thunderstorm Warning: Take Action!
Severe weather has been reported by spotters or indicated by radar. Warnings indicate imminent danger to life and property. Take shelter in a substantial building. Get out of mobile homes that can blow over in high winds. Warnings typically encompass a much smaller area (around the size of a city or small county) that may be impacted by a large hail or damaging wind identified by an NWS forecaster on radar or by a trained spotter/law enforcement who is watching the storm.