Hurricane Watch or Warning: What's the Difference?

Hurricane Watch or Warning: What's the Difference? bb3 Apr 21, 2014

By Staff Writer

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Hurricane forecasts typically include one of two severe weather alerts: A watch, issued 48 hours before the expected storm, indicates hurricane conditions are possible. A warning is issued 36 hours prior to a storm that will occur. Understanding the difference can help you better protect your family, home and belongings.

Differences between hurricane watch and hurricane warning
  • Stay up-to-date. Track weather reports and listen for announcements from officials.
  • Run errands. Refuel vehicles, refill prescriptions, withdraw cash, and stock up on essentials such as batteries, first-aid supplies, bottled water and non-perishables.
  • Prepare your home. Cover windows and doors and store lawn equipment, garbage cans, patio furniture and other loose outdoor items.
  • Review your evacuation plan. Make arrangements for pets in case you must go to a shelter. Check tie-downs and evacuate if you live in a mobile or manufactured home. Tell a friend or family member your plans.

During a Warning

  • Take final safety measures. Move valuables to higher ground and fill sinks, bathtubs or clean containers with extra water.
  • Conserve. Limit use of battery-powered devices such as cell phones and flashlights. Also put the fridge on its coldest temperature setting and avoid opening the doors more than necessary.
  • Evacuate. If you’re told to evacuate, lock windows and doors and follow the direction of local authorities. Also, if you have time, pack a copy of your home inventory and other important documents before you go.
  • Take shelter. Avoid leaving the house with one exception: If officials have issued an evacuation order, you should comply. When inside, move to interior rooms and keep away from windows and doors.

If you live in a hurricane-prone area, talk to your insurance agent about necessary coverage, make a basic disaster supply kit, create a family emergency plan and know your evacuation guidelines.

The information in this article was obtained from various sources. While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. The information is not intended to replace manuals or instructions provided by the manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional. Nor is it intended to effect coverage under any policy. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information. We assume no liability in connection with the information nor the suggestions made.

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