Things I Do Not Understand, Weather Edition

16th & P, NW, 5:30 pm
16th & P, NW, 5:30 pm

Today was a bad weather day in the DC area – storms have been rolling through since mid-afternoon, and in addition to the summertime norms of rain, thunder, and lightening, tornadoes (!) threatened. As I read the increasingly intense announcements, I was reminded that I do not understand why a “warning” is more severe than a “watch” when it comes to bad weather. This seems counter-intuitive to me, based on the way the words are normally used. For example:

“I’m warning you… Playing in traffic could get you hit by a car.”

“Watch out! You’re going to get hit by a car!”

Clearly, “watch” is more immediate, and yet, when a storm is coming, a watch is all “ho-hum, whatever” and a warning is “holy shit, get in the basement!”

I can’t be the only one who thinks this is confusing, right?

2 thoughts on “Things I Do Not Understand, Weather Edition

  1. Common Loon June 1, 2012 / 11:19 pm

    In my “mom voice”

    Watch: conditions are favorable for severe weather (“Watch out, I’m getting angry”)
    Warning: there is evidence that you’re in immediate danger (“No more warnings – you’re DONE!”)

  2. Joanne June 2, 2012 / 5:12 am

    Does anyone in DC actually GET in the basement, asks the woman who drive straight into two separate warning areas today?

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