Colorado Severe Weather Awareness Week continues Monday with a lesson on understanding severe weather watches and warnings.
As the National Weather Service becomes aware of the potential for hazardous summer weather, officials say they pass that information on to you as early and as often as possible.
The National Weather Service offices in Grand Junction gather information and identify the potential for hazardous weather as soon as seven days in advance.
The national storm prediction center forecasts the chance for severe weather across the country for today, tomorrow and the next day and will indicate whether people in that area are in a slight, moderate or high risk for severe weather. If severe weather is likely within the next six hours, a severe weather watch will be issued to alert residents in that area.
The National Weather Service says if you live in an area covered by a watch you should plan out in your mind where you would go for shelter if the weather turns. If high winds are a threat, you should tie down loose objects or bring them indoors.
Once a watch is issued, forecasters at the local National Weather Service office continue to monitor satellite and radar information and take reports from severe weather spotters. Based on this information, they will issue warnings to the public.
The warnings are urgent messages to tell you that severe weather or flooding is coming or coming soon. Warnings can be issued for part of all of one or more counties.
A Severe Thunderstorm Warning is issued for gusts of 58 mph or greater and/or one inch or greater hail.
A Tornado Warning is issued when tornados are coming or coming soon.
A Flash Flood Warning is issued for rapidly developing life-threatening flooding.
National Weather Service forecasters put watches, warnings and advisories on NOAA Weather Radio. They recommend you buy a weather radio receiver with a built-in tone alarm which is activated by the National Weather Service when such notices are issued. Notices are also issued through the NOAA Web site and local radio and television stations.
For more information on Colorado Severe Weather week, visit the link below.