DENVER (KDVR) – There have been multiple severe weather watches and warnings issued across Colorado on Wednesday. With more severe weather possible on Thursday, it’s important to know the difference between a watch and a warning.
A severe thunderstorm watch is issued when conditions are favorable for severe storms to form. They are issued to alert people to be prepared and stay weather alert for the amount of time of the watch.
Severe thunderstorm watches are typically issued several hours before storms start and usually last for several hours. They also typically cover a large area where storms are possible.
Severe thunderstorm warnings are issued when a warning is currently happening. When a storm is spotted or indicated by radar and meets severe thunderstorm criteria, a warning is then issued by the National Weather Service.
A severe thunderstorm warning is issued on a much smaller scaler than a watch and usually only includes areas where the storm is at that time. It is also issued for shorter durations, typically under an hour.
In order for storms to be considered severe, they have to include at least one of these three items.
- Hail that is 1 inch in diameter or larger
- Wind gusts 58 mph or greater
- The threat of a tornado (rotation in the storm)
There is a risk for more severe storms on Thursday in eastern Colorado. Make sure to download the Pinpoint Weather App to alert you when a storm is in your area.