Ask Josh: Severe Weather Terms

Meteorologist Josh Fitzpatrick visited a local school talking about severe weather.



 Recently I was asked by Geary School in Roane County to talk about severe weather.  This past Monday I stopped by and spoke to the 7th graders about the different severe weather terms.  Above is a photo of the class.  We're coming into the severe weather season and what a great time to refresh our memories on the differences between the watches and the different warnings.

Tornado Watch: Means that conditions are favorable for tornadoes to develop. It is normally issued for 4 to 6 hours and includes many counties.  If you are in or near the tornado watch area, stay informed by watching WSAZ, myZtv, or our mobile web channel,  Keep your eye on the sky and be prepared to take cover at short notice, as tornadoes can occur with little or no warning.

Tornado Warning: Means that a tornado has been sighted, or a developing tornado is reported by trained spotters or indicated on Doppler radar. A warning is typically issued for a small area for less than an hour. If a tornado warning is issued for your area...take cover immediately!

Severe Thunderstorm Watch: Means that conditions are favorable for thunderstorms to produce wind gusts to 58 mph or stronger and or hail to 3/4 inch or larger in the watch area. These watches are issued for 4 to 6 hours at a time and for a number of counties. Stay informed, watch the sky, and take cover if a severe thunderstorm approaches you.

Severe Thunderstorm Warning: Means that a severe thunderstorm has been detected by radar, or by a trained spotter. Take cover if you are near the severe thunderstorm.

Flash Flood Watch: Issued when heavy rain may develop and result in flash flooding in or near the watch area.

Flash Flood Warning: Flash flooding in the warning area has developed or is imminent. Move to higher ground at once!


The difference between just a flood and a flash flood has to do with the speed in which the water rises.  Flash floods usually only occur on small creeks and streams in a short period of time.  Where regular floods happen on larger rivers like the Ohio, Big Sandy and Kanawha, the water comes up slowly.


Never drive through high water!  If you come to a flooded roadway, turn around, don't drown.


A special thanks to Troy Hahn, science teacher at Geary School for inviting me!


If you have a weather related question, be sure to submit it in the comment section.


Thanks for reading!

Read More Blogs
Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
powered by Disqus
WSAZ NewsChannel 3 645 Fifth Avenue Huntington, WV 25701 304-697-4780 WSAZ Charleston 111 Columbia Avenue Charleston, WV 25302 304-344-3521
Gray Television, Inc. - Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability