The severe weather season is coming up which means Texas will once again be bombarded with watches and warnings as the spring storm systems start to roll across our great state. Knowing the difference between a watch and a warning is crucial to keeping you and your family safe.

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Now, I'm not a weather expert, but rather a weather enthusiast. I have been certified as a weather spotter for SkyWarn, and I am part of the Spotter Network, but as an expert, I am not. I'm just an average dude that really likes to track severe weather, especially when it comes to thunderstorms and tornados in our area.

SEE ALSO: Tornado Facts and Safety Tips You Need to Know

While the peak severe weather season in Abilene is usually between March and October, severe weather can happen at any time. In order to help save lives, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) works together with the Storms Prediction Center (SPC) and National Weather Service (NWS) to issue these warnings and watches.

Watches are issued by NOAA's SPC, while warnings are issued by the local offices of the National Weather Service. In the Abilene area, that would be the NWS in San Angelo.

But, what exactly is the difference between a Watch and a Warning?

Photo: Canva
Photo: Canva

SEE ALSO: Deadliest Tornadoes in Texas History

Severe Weather Watch

A watch means that conditions are favorable for a severe thunderstorm, tornado, or flash flood. That doesn't mean that severe weather will happen for sure. It just means that there is a possibility and that you should monitor the situation in case a warning is issued.

Photo: Canva
Photo: Canva

Severe Weather Warning

A warning means that the event (thunderstorm, flood, tornado) is imminent and will threaten a particular area based on reports, radar, and other information received by the NWS. If a warning is issued, you should act accordingly, depending on the type of warning.

Look at it this way: If you have all the ingredients to make a taco, but no taco yet, that would be a "taco watch". Once the taco is made, it becomes a "taco warning".


Now you want tacos, don't ya? Yeah, me too.

Hopefully, this will clear up any questions you may have when it comes to the difference between a watch, and a warning.

WARNING: These Are the Counties With the Most Tornadoes in Texas

Stacker compiled a list of counties which experience the most tornadoes in Texas using data from NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information.

Gallery Credit: Stacker



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