Hurricane Watch vs. Warning

Let Others Know

A hurricane watch and warning may sound similar, but the two have very different meanings (and expected reactions.)

A watch means that storm conditions are possible in your area within 48 hours or less. A warning is an announcement that a storm is expected to hit within 36 hours or less.

So, a warning indicates more certainty that the storm will impact the area.

When a watch is issued, there is a possibility it will turn into a warning. You should go ahead and begin some basic preparation when a watch is issued:

  • review your preparedness kit and be sure you have everything
  • go over your hurricane preparedness plan with your family (including your evacuation plan)
  • listen for updates about the potential storm

If a warning is issued, it means the storm is expected to hit, so continue with your safety preparations:

  • gather your supplies
  • put your preparedness plan into action
  • take shelter in a safe location
  • listen for updates about the storm
  • evacuate if you are instructed to do so

Pay attention to updates as the storm progresses. Here are tips for what you need to do during a hurricane.