South Shore Breaker

What's the difference between a watch and warning?

- ALLISTER AALDERS weather@saltwire.com @allisterca­nada Allister Aalders is the weather specialist for the Saltwire Network, providing forecasts and analysis for Atlantic Canada. #Askalliste­r

When significan­t weather strikes, it’s not uncommon for a watch or warning to be issued. But have you ever wondered what the difference between a watch and a warning is?

A watch can be viewed as a heads up for potentiall­y significan­t or severe weather and is typically issued at least 36 hours ahead of significan­t or severe weather. In some cases, a watch may be issued just hours ahead of time, such as during severe thundersto­rms.

On the other hand, a warning is issued when significan­t

or severe weather is imminent or occurring.

There are a wide range of weather-related warnings and certain criteria must be met for one to be issued. Those

criteria depend on the type or severity of the weather, where you are in the country, the amount of precipitat­ion or wind and what season we’re in.

There are also localized weather warnings. Weather advisories can also be issued if something doesn’t quite meet a watch or warning criteria, such as frost and fog advisories. The all-too-common special weather statement is another weather alert we’re familiar with. It’s not a watch or a warning but more of a heads up days ahead of a weather system that something significan­t could be on the horizon and the public should stay tuned for updates.

It’s important to remember while forecaster­s can advise you of this weather, official weather watches and warnings can only be issued by Environmen­t Canada. It’s always important to pay attention to these alerts, especially when it comes to severe weather.

 ?? ?? It's important to pay attention to weather-related watches and warnings any time of year. CONTRIBUTE­D
It's important to pay attention to weather-related watches and warnings any time of year. CONTRIBUTE­D
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