Knowing the differences between statements issued by the National Weather Service can be very helpful, especially in harsh or dangerous weather conditions. In flooding and other threatening weather conditions, it is important to stay informed and follow the directions provided by public safety officials. Be ready to move to higher ground or evacuate if instructed to do so. Here are the differences between a Flood Watch, Flood Advisory, Flood Warning, and Flash Flood Warning for a better understanding of each of their meanings:
- Flood Watch
A Flood Watch is issued by the National Weather Service when the weather conditions are favorable for flooding. However, this does not indicate that flooding will occur, just that it is a possibility.
- Flood Advisory
A Flood Advisory is issued by the National Weather Service when there is a specific weather event forecasted, such as heavy rain or a large storm. This does not mean that flooding will occur, but caution should still be exercised, and you should stay alert for any updates.
- Flood Warning
A Flood Warning is issued by the National Weather Service when flooding is either already occurring in areas or is forthcoming.
- Flash Flood Warning
A Flash Flood Warning is issued by the National Weather Service when flash flooding is either already occurring in areas or is forthcoming. It is advised to move to higher ground as areas that are not experiencing heavy rainfall can still encounter flooding.
During heavy rainfall or other dangerous weather events, it is important to stay updated using the radio, television, weather apps, or other forms of media communication. To learn more about your risk of flooding, check to see if you live in an area with high-risk of flooding using the FEMA Flood Map Service Center: https://msc.fema.gov/portal/home