While the peak occurrences for severe weather events in the United States happen between March and October, severe weather can occur at any time. In order to save lives, branches of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will issue public watches and warnings.
Knowing the difference between the two can prepare individuals for the necessary steps to take when considering the threat of severe weather. Watches and warnings issued to the public are based on different criteria.
"A watch is issued when conditions are favorable, for example, either for a severe thunderstorm or tornadoes," AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Dan Kottlowski said. "It doesn't mean severe weather is imminent."
"Typical watches cover about 25,000 square miles, or about half the size of Iowa," according to the SPC.
Kottlowski said there are no set criteria for issuing watches, but if the conditions seem consistent with a developing severe weather pattern, watches can be changed and altered by monitoring ongoing developments.
"It can vary," he said. "There is not just one set of ingredients; every watch may have a different set of perimeters from one day to the next since it is based on a synoptic situation that may change within several hours."
Warnings mean that severe weather is imminent and is based on specific criteria and existing reports received by the NWS.
The criteria include hail that totals more than 1 inch in diameter and wind speeds of 55 mph.
"Lightning is not a criteria for a severe thunderstorm warning," Kottlowski said. "Heavy rain is not either."
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Warnings must follow the two main criteria, he said, adding urban flood and stream advisories, flash flood watches and warnings, and flood watches and warnings, may accompany a storm with heavy rain.
Warnings are issued through the efforts of individuals working for the NWS.
"The way a warning is issued is that a meteorologist will monitor the weather by radar and look for particular areas where there could be high impact damage," Kottlowski said. "They will issue a warning and there will be a signature for an existing storm or developing tornado."
Trained NWS spotters will verify reports of rotation or storm damage.
"This gives the meteorologists confidence in what they are seeing on radar," he said.
Following a dry end to the holiday weekend, showers and thunderstorms will quickly return to the Northeast during the first part of the new week.
The unrelenting heat across the interior West will continue through the first part of the new week, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
A cold front advancing across the central United States will bring the threat of severe weather from Wisconsin to Texas on Monday.
After blowing through Guam over the weekend with up to 304.8 mm (12 inches) of rain, Chan-hom has its eye set on intensification as it tracks toward Japan's Ryukyu Islands and eventually east-central China.
A 21-year-old California woman died recently after contracting a rare infection caused by a brain-eating amoeba that thrives in warm bodies of water.
An uptick in tropical activity is likely around Hawaii and then near the shores of Mexico as July progresses.
Oklahoma City, OK (1996)
110 degrees, hottest ever in July.
Phoenix, AZ (2001)
High temperature only 89 degrees, record low maximum temperature for date.
Extreme heat, Belgrade reached a high of 106, surpassing the all-time record of 103 from August 5, 1961. Missoula hit 107, breaking the old all-time record high of 105 from July 10, 1973. Cut Bank topped out at 106, the first time the temperature had been over 100 since August 1983.