Weather alerts: What do they mean? When are you really in danger?

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Warnings, watches, and advisories, the terms can all be so confusing so we're breaking it down for you. They do have one thing in common, they're issued by the National Weather Service to convey the threat of hazardous weather events.

**Click on video above to watch Jeff Smith's explainer.**


Issued when the risk of hazardous weather has increased, but there is still some uncertainty about the situation. Watches are issued well in advance of a potential weather event so that people can start to think about preparations.

Issued when severe weather is already occurring, is imminent, or has a very high probability of happening. Warnings are issued for conditions that can pose a threat to life or property.

To give an example, a WINTER STORM WATCH is issued if snow or ice has the potential to cause dangerous conditions in the next day or two. A WINTER STORM WARNING would be issued if a dangerous winter storm was likely and only hours away.

Issued for weather conditions that don't quite warrant a warning. Advisories are for weather that may cause inconvenience, like fog, or minor flooding, but it is not necessarily a threat to life or property.
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