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Definitions of Severe Weather

WATCH: conditions are conducive to the development of the storm or condition for tropical storms or hurricanes, the possibility of these conditions within 36 hours for flooding, the possibility within the next 6 hours

WARNING: the storm or condition is actually occurring; it has been sighted or seen on radar for tropical storms or hurricanes, the expectation of these conditions within 24 hours

 

WINTER STORM: snow, sleet, freezing rain &/or extreme cold

BLIZZARD: falling or blowing snow in sustained winds or frequent gusts of 35 miles per hour lasting for at least 3 hours

BLOWING SNOW: wind driven snow that reduces visibility and causes significant drifting

FREEZING RAIN: rain that freezes as it hits the ground creating a coating of ice also called an ice storm

SLEET: rain that freezes in the air creating ice pellets

THUNDERSTORM: storms that produce lightning thunderstorms usually, but not always, include rain they may also produce hail, strong winds, tornados and flash flooding

HAIL: balls of ice formed when updrafts keep precipitation suspended in cold air

TORNADO: a rotating funnel of wind spawned by a thunderstorm winds may reach 200 to 300 miles per hour

WATER SPOUT: a tornado over water

 

FLOOD: high flow or overflow of water from a river; heavy runoff or drainage of water into low-lying areas

FLASH FLOOD: sudden flooding; rapidly rising water or a wall of released water from torrential rains, an ice jam or a dam failure

 

TROPICAL STORM: a large tropical cyclone formed over water with sustained winds of 39 to 73 miles per hour

HURRICANE: a large tropical cyclone formed over water with sustained winds greater than 73 miles per hour