Blog service

What is the difference between an outlook and a weather alert?

TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) – Over the past two days the weather has been quite active. We saw mostly showers and thunderstorms, and the ingredients were there for potentially severe thunderstorms on Friday.

Note that, in the tweet above, there is a dark green area covering parts of the KMVT viewing area. This dark green area is called a marginal risk of severe thunderstorms. The purpose of this blog post is not to explain what all severe weather hazards mean – that explanation can be found in the weekend weather blog I did on April 16th.

This blog post is intended to explain the differences between a perspective like this and a watch, warning, or notice. Now all the colors can be confusing and it might look like a weather alert is in place in the image above.

However, this is very different from a weather alert. The tweet below is an example of a weather alert:

This was a severe thunderstorm warning issued on May 2. Obviously, the colors of each of these tweets are very different, but that’s not the only difference.

When severe weather hazards are in place, it means weather conditions indicate the potential for thunderstorms to become severe, usually hours later in the day. When the region is exposed to extreme weather hazards, people need to keep an eye on the sky but can also go about their daily business.

Watches are when things start to get a little uncertain. When a watch is in place, it means the ingredients are there for thunderstorms to kick in and become severe in about an hour.

As far as severe thunderstorms go, watches are rarely issued here in southern Idaho, but there are two specific ones that should be looked for – a severe thunderstorm watch and a tornado watch. Below is an example of a severe weather watch in North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland:

When a watch is issued, it’s time to start preparing. have a plan on where to go if a warning is issued. Although there is currently no severe weather, you should remain alert to rapidly changing weather conditions. Stay tuned to a source of weather information and listen for any road warnings.

And of course there are caveats. Severe weather warnings are issued and are issued for segments of counties. If you receive a warning, you must put your plan into action – take cover and do all you can to protect your property and your life.

Ultimately, severe weather forecasts can be helpful, but they also don’t mean that severe weather will occur. It certainly doesn’t mean that severe weather is happening. It’s best to get your weather information from trusted meteorologists who also know what they’re talking about. That means staying tuned to KMVT or following our three meteorologists on social media.

The National Weather Service is also an excellent source of weather information. If you live in Twin Falls, Jerome, and Gooding counties, your National Weather Service office is located in Boise. You can follow them on Twitter by clicking here.

If you live in Blaine, Cassia, Minidoka, or Lincoln counties, your National Weather Service office is located in Pocatello. You can follow them on Twitter by clicking here.

Copyright 2022 KMVT/KSVT. All rights reserved.