Weather 101: What is a severe thunderstorm watch? - CBS46 News

Weather 101: What is a severe thunderstorm watch?

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Source: WGCL Source: WGCL

A severe thunderstorm watch is issued when severe thunderstorms are possible in the area.

Watch vs. warning

It's important to remember that a watch simply means to "watch for" bad weather. Once a warning is issued, that means the bad weather is actually occurring or will very soon!

Severe storm

A storm is considered severe when at least one of the following is occurring: 

  • Strong winds of at least 58 mph.
  • Quarter-sized hail

Either of the above conditions could produce damage to life or property, which is why it's considered a severe storm.

What about lightning?

Many people ask if a severe thunderstorm warning is issued for lightning. It's not. Severe storms certainly have more lightning than storms that are not severe, but severe thunderstorm warnings are not issued for lightning -- just for large hail and strong winds. 

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