We have now entered the peak of the Atlantic Hurricane Season and, while the tropics have been still this summer, a disturbance can occur at any moment. As your trusted partner, Cotton Global Disaster Solutions encourages you to stay prepared and familiarize yourself with the different alerts you can experience during imminent weather.
Do you know when you need to start securing your facilities for impact; during a watch, warning or advisory? Continue reading to learn more about the different threats and when you should take action.
Flood Warning, Flood Watch and Flood Advisory
A Flood Warning is issued when water is already overflowing onto dry land or is very close to doing so. If your local news issues a flood warning, TAKE ACTION. Move to higher ground and do not drive through flooded roads.
If your community is under a Flood Watch, that means that conditions are favorable for water to overflow onto normally dry land. You don’t need to take immediate action but stay informed and be prepared.
A Flood Advisory is issued when flooding is not expected to be bad enough to issue a warning. However, it may cause significant inconvenience, and if caution is not exercised, it could lead to situations that may threaten life and/or property. In this case, just be aware and continue monitoring the news for updates.
In some cases, you may also see a Flash Flood Warning, which means a flash flood is imminent or occurring. If you are in a flood-prone area move immediately to high ground.
What’s the difference between a Flash Flood and Flood?
Flash floods are caused by heavy or excessive rainfall in a short period, generally less than 6 hours. Whereas a flood is caused by rising water in an existing waterway (river, streams, drainage ditch, etc), which then overflows and floods a normally dry area.
Tropical Storm Warning vs Tropical Storm Watch
When a Tropical Storm Warning is issued, it means tropical storm conditions (sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph) are expected within your area within 36 hours. Take immediate action to secure your property and people.
A Tropical Storm Watch is issued when a tropical cyclone containing winds of 34 to 63 kt (39 to 74 mph) or higher poses a possible threat, generally within 48 hours. A Watch does not mean that tropical storm conditions will occur. It only means that these conditions are possible. Therefore, be aware and continue monitoring the storm’s track.
Hurricane Warning vs. Hurricane Watch
During a Hurricane Warning, sustained winds of 74 mph or greater are expected somewhere within the specified area. The National Hurricane Center issues a hurricane warning 35 hours in advance of tropical-storm-force winds to give you time to complete your preparations. All preparations should be complete. Evacuate immediately if so ordered.
A Hurricane Watch is issued when hurricane sustained winds of 74 mph or greater are possible within your area. Because it may not be safe to prepare for a hurricane once winds reach a tropical storm force, the NHC issues hurricane watches 48 hours before it anticipates tropical-storm-force winds. Begin preparations and stay alert if the threat gets escalated to a warning.
Extreme Wind Warning is when extreme sustained winds of a major hurricane (115 mph or greater), usually associated with the eyewall, are expected to begin within an hour. Take immediate shelter in the interior portion of a well-built structure.
Storm Surge Warning vs. Storm Surge Watch
A Storm Surge Warning alerts communities that there is a danger of life-threatening inundation from rising water moving inland from the shoreline somewhere within the specified area, generally within 36 hours. If you are under a storm surge warning, check for an evacuation order from your local officials.
Storm Surge Watch means there is a possibility of life-threatening inundation from rising water moving inland from the shoreline somewhere within the specified area, generally within 48 hours. Be prepared for any sudden updates.
Coastal Flood Warning vs Coastal Flood Watch and Advisory
A Coastal Flood Warning is issued when moderate to major coastal flooding is occurring or imminent. This flooding will pose a serious threat to life and property.
A Coastal Flood Watch is issued when moderate to major coastal flooding is possible. Such flooding would potentially pose a serious risk to life and property.
A Coastal Flood Advisory is issued when minor or nuisance coastal flooding is occurring or imminent.
Visit our Hurricane Resource Hub online for more hurricane preparedness tips and case studies.