SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH
DEFINITION: A watch is issued when the potential exists for severe thunderstorms.
Conditions are favorable for the development of thunderstorms, with hail, high winds,
and heavy rains, in and close to the watch area.
DEFINITION: This watch means that conditions exist for the development of
tornadoes in and close to the watch area. Hail is also a possibility. It does not mean
that tornadoes will occur. This watch also means that conditions are favorable for
severe thunderstorms to form. It is possible that a few storms may be capable of
producing a tornado.
FLASH FLOOD WATCH
DEFINITION: Conditions are favorable for flash flooding. Any additional rain could lead
to flash flooding.
DEFINITION: Conditions are favorable for river flooding. This is usually issued for major
rivers like the Ohio and Kentucky.
WINTER STORM WATCH
DEFINITION: A winter storm watch is issued to inform the public of the possibility of one
or a combination of the following events: blizzard conditions, heavy snow or significant and
damaging accumulations of freezing rain or sleet. A winter storm watch is normally issued
12 to 48 hours in advance.
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING
DEFINITION: A warning means that a severe thunderstorm has been reported by storm
spotters or indicated on radar. It indicates imminent danger to life and property to those in
the path of the storm. As a result of a severe thunderstorm warning, a tornado
watch/warning or flash flood watch/warning could be issued.
A severe thunderstorm is any storm that produces one or more of the following:
1. A tornado
2. Damaging winds or winds measured at 50 knots (approximately 58 MPH) or more
3. Hail three-quarters (3/4) of an inch in diameter or larger.
DEFINITION: A tornado has been sighted by spotters or indicated on radar. This means
people should seek shelter below ground or in a ground level interior room, away from
outside walls. Tornado wind speed increases with altitude; so being on a lower level is
FLASH FLOOD WARNING
DEFINITION: A flash flood warning is issued when flash flooding has been reported or is
imminent. Water may be covering roadways and some roads could be washed away.
DEFINITION: A flood warning is issued when river flooding has been reported or is
imminent. This is usually issued for major rivers like the Ohio and Kanawha.
WINTER STORM WARNING
DEFINITION: A winter storm warning is issued when heavy snow, or a mixture of heavy
snow, freezing drizzle or sleet is occurring, is imminent or is very likely. A Winter Storm
Warning is generally issued 0-6 hours in advance.
ICE STORM WARNING
DEFINITION: An ice storm warning may be issued instead of a winter storm warning
when the only winter weather expected is significant ice accumulation from freezing rain.
Ice storms can be devastating to a community and should be covered around the clock.
DEFINITION: Blizzard warning is issued when blizzard conditions are expected to last for
three hours or more. A blizzard happens when sustained winds or gusts of 35 mph or
greater and considerable falling and or blowing snow create visibility to less than onequarter
DEFINITION: Frost/freeze warnings are issued when below freezing temperatures are
expected during the growing season and may cause significant damage to plants and crops.
WIND CHILL WARNING
DEFINITION: A Wind Chill Warning is issued when wind chills are expected to be 35 below
zero or colder.