By: News 14 Carolina Meteorologists
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What is the difference between a watch and a warning?
A watch alerts you to potential severe weather approaching your area. It doesn't mean severe weather will occur, but that the right conditions exist which could lead to severe storms. You should be prepared for the weather to deteriorate rapidly.
A warning states the severe weather is imminent or present in your vicinity. You should immediately take precautions to protect yourself and your family. Be sure to read the News 14 Safety guide for advice on what to do when severe weather strikes central and eastern North Carolina.
News 14 Carolina's "Weather on the Ones" is one of the best ways to receive watches, warning and advisories from the National Weather Service. Be sure to tune in during alerts for up-to-the-minute, live forecasts and for your area.
Here is what the different advisories mean:
Tornadoes are possible in your area. Remain alert for approaching storms.
A tornado or funnel cloud has been sighted or indicated by Doppler radar. If a tornado warning is issued for your county and the sky becomes threatening, move to your pre-designated place of safety.
Fujita Wind Damage Scale
F0: Up to 72 mph Light Damage
F1: 73 - 112 mph Moderate
F2: 113 - 157 mph Considerable
F3: 158 - 206 mph Severe
F4: 207 - 260 mph Devastating
F5: Above 261 Incredible
Severe Thunderstorm Watch
Thunderstorms producing the following may occur in your area:
• Hail ¾" in diameter or larger, wind gusts 58 mph or greater and/or tornadoes.
• Wind gusts 58 mph or greater and/or tornadoes.
• Frequent lightning and flash flooding may also accompany severe thunderstorms.
Severe Thunderstorm Warning
Severe thunderstorms are imminent or occurring in your area!
Flash Flood or Flood Watch
Flash flooding or flooding is possible within the designated watch area. Be prepared to move to higher ground.
Flash Flood or Flood Warning
Flooding has been reported or is imminent - take necessary precautions at once. You may only have seconds! Seek higher ground immediately!
Urban and Small Stream Advisory
Flooding of small streams, streets and low-lying areas, such as railroad underpasses and urban storm drains is occurring.
Flash Flood or Flood Statement
Follow-up information regarding a flash flood or flood event.
Winter Storm Watch
Severe winter conditions, such as heavy snow and/or ice are possible within the next day or two. Prepare now!
Winter Storm Warning
Severe winter conditions have begun or are about to begin in your area. Stay indoors!
Winter Weather Advisory
Winter weather conditions are expected to cause significant inconveniences and may create travel hazards. If caution is exercised these situations should not become life-threatening.
Temperatures below 32 degrees (freezing) are expected and may cause significant damage to gardens, crops or fruit trees. People who have homes without heat need to take added precautions.
What do the sky conditions tell us? How do you make up the chances for rain?
The forecast for the probability of precipitation is one of the least understood elements of forecasting. The probability of precipitation has the following features:
• The likelihood of precipitation is stated as a percentage
• A measurable amount is defined as .01" (one hundredth of an inch) or more. More than .01" usually produces enough runoff for puddles to form
• The probability is for a specified time period
• The probability forecast is for any point in the forecast area
What are the Moon Phases?
When the Moon is not illuminated by direct sunlight.
Occurs when the visible Moon is partly but less than one-half illuminated by direct sunlight while the illuminated part is increasing.
When one-half of the Moon appears illuminated by direct sunlight while the illuminated part is increasing.
When the Moon is more than one-half but not fully illuminated by direct sunlight while the illuminated part is increasing.
When the visible Moon is fully illuminated by direct sunlight.
The Moon is less than fully but more than one-half illuminated by direct sunlight while the illuminated part is decreasing.
Is when one-half of the Moon appears illuminated by direct sunlight while the illuminated part is decreasing.
Occurs when the Moon is partly but less than one-half illuminated by direct sunlight while the illuminated part is decreasing.
What do those weather terms in the forecast mean?
The envelope of air surrounding the planet earth. The atmosphere extends from the ground to about 180 miles above the planet.
Simulation of the atmosphere's behavior by mathematical equations or by physical models. News14 Carolina displays this information using Precisioncast.
The height of the lowest layer of clouds.
The average of daily and seasonal weather over a long period of time, often 30 years
The leading edge of a cold air mass advancing into a warm air mass
The temperature to which air must be cooled to in order for dew (or frost) to form
An extensive warming that begins along the coast of Peru and Ecuador; occurs once every 3 to 7 years. El Nino refers to "the time of your (Christmas) which these countries notice changes in fishing". El Nino means "the little boy" - which refers to the Christ Child.
A cloud with its base at the Earth's surface
Often the initial phase of a tornado, it's a rotating column of air extending from a cloud but not reaching the ground
An index that combines the air temperature and relative humidity to determine an apparent temperature - how it really feels to the human body
A region of air with higher-than-normal barometric pressure, around which winds blow clockwise. Usually associated with fair weather
Ordinary lightning that is too far away for its thunder to be heard; a misnomer.
A region of air with higher barometric pressure than the area surrounding it, around which winds rotate clockwise; usually associated with fair weather
The largest storm system on the planet, it's the most powerful tropical system with winds of 74 mph or more.
Saffir-Simpson Damage Scale
Wind Speeds: 74-95 mph
Storm Surge: 4-5 Feet
Wind Speeds: 96-110 mph
Storm Surge: 6-8 Feet
Wind Speeds: 111-130 mph
Storm Surge: 9-12 Feet
Wind Speeds: 131-155 mph
Storm Surge: 13-18 Feet
Wind Speeds: 156+ mph
Storm Surge: More than 18 Feet
Strong winds at about 35,000 feet aloft that divide air masses of different temperatures, and often act as steering currents for weather systems
Condition where the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean waters turn cooler than normal. Opposite of El Nino!
A region of air with lower barometric pressure then the area surrounding it that rotates counter-clockwise; usually associated with stormy weather
The study of the atmosphere and atmospheric phenomena as well as the atmosphere's interaction with the Earth's surface, oceans and life in general
An acronym for Next Generation Weather RADar, the main component of NEXRAD is Doppler radar.
Any form of water particles - liquid or solid- that falls from the atmosphere and reaches the ground
The ratio of the amount of water vapor in the air compared to the amount of water vapor the air (at a certain temperature) can hold
Precipitation which comes and goes at an unsteady rate, could be rain or snow
A boundary separating two air masses that shows little or no movement
The most violent of all storms, it's a strong, rotating column of air extending from the base of a cumulonimbus cloud to the ground
A tropical cyclone with maximum sustained winds near the surface of less than 39 mph
Tropical cyclone with 39 to 73 mph sustained winds; it's just one step below hurricane status
A disturbance moving off the western coast of Africa toward the Caribbean and eastern North American coastal regions which may eventually develop into a hurricane
The leading edge of a warm air mass advancing onto a cold air mass
The condition of the atmosphere at any particular time and place
The cooling effect of the combination of temperature and wind, expressed as the loss of body heat. Click here to see the NWS Wind Chill Chart