Test of Tornado Warning System

National Weather Service Conducting a Test April 17

A test of the tornado warning systems will be issued tomorrow, April 16, 2012 in the morning
between the hours of 9:15 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. from the four National Weather Service (NWS) offices serving Colorado.  The Boulder NWS Office warning is scheduled at 10:10 a.m.

Understanding Severe Weather Watches and Warnings from the National Weather Service

By:  Tom Magnuson, National Weather Service, Pueblo, Colorado

The National Weather Service (NWS) sees the potential for severe weather...and a stream of weather information flows from our forecast offices to you.

Each NWS Forecast Office has a website and Facebook page where you can find weather stories which are graphical looks at upcoming weather hazards.  The hazardous weather outlook text product is also available.  It highlights weather hazards sometimes seven days in advance.

The Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma also forecasts the chance for severe weather across the country at least three days in advance.  These outlooks will tell you if you are in a slight risk....moderate risk...or high risk area for severe weather.

If severe weather becomes likely within six hours...a watch will be issued to alert you of the higher chance for severe weather in or close to the watch area.  If you are in or close to the watch area...plan where you would go for shelter if severe weather was to occur.  If high wind is a threat...tying down or bringing loose objects indoors is a good idea.  If large hail is a threat....protecting your vehicle is a good idea.

Then...forecasters at the local NWS office will monitor satellite and radar data...and talk with severe weather spotters.  Forecasters will issue warnings and quickly send them out to alert you of the imminent severe weather threat.  The warnings are sent out in many different ways in order to reach the most people possible.

A warning is an urgent message telling you that severe weather or flooding is imminent or is occurring.  Warnings are usually issued for an area smaller than a county.

A severe thunderstorm warning is issued for wind gusts of 58 MPH or higher or for hail one inch in diameter or greater.

A tornado warning is issued when tornadoes are imminent or occurring.

A flash flood warning is issued for rapidly developing life threatening flooding.

Before and during severe weather...you can receive watches...warnings...and advisories on NOAA All Hazards Weather Radio.  It is recommended that you buy a weather readio receiver with a built in tone alarm...which is activated by the NWS when watches and warnings are issued.  You can also find warnings on the internet or receive them from your local radio or television station.

Do not be caught off guard.  Know how to receive watch and warning information...and know what to do when severe weather threatens.   Specific safety information will be available each day of this Colorado Severe Weather Awareness Week.

Tuesday:  Information on Tornadoes and Tornado Safety

#COwx  #tornadoes