Watch vs Warning and Being Prepared!

Disasters, Home Insurance Basics

Winter is officially here! The weather service has issued a Lake Effect Watch for our area.

Many of you may be thinking…..should I be concerned? I can’t remember, which is worse – watch or warning?

Let’s set the record straight.


A WATCH means that the potential exists for development of severe weather. It is recommended that the public be aware of these conditions and have a plan of action in case the weather occurs. A watch is usually issued 12 hours before the threat of severe weather.

A winter storm watch means that there may be hazardous winter weather.


A WARNING means that severe weather is imminent. If you remember things by word associations, you can think of it this way – there is an “i” in warning and “i” in imminent.  A warning tells the public that the weather will occur within the next hours. It warns people to prepare for this severe weather and execute their plans of preparation.

A winter storm warning means that a dangerous combination of heavy snow, with sleet and/or freezing rain, will occur, or has a high probability of occurring, within the next 12 hours.

Car Preparation for Winter Weather

During a watch, we prepare for possible severe weather conditions.

Preparation is key to weathering a storm!

Here is a list of items one should stock in their car to be prepared for the perils of winter weather:

Keep yourself safe and healthy

Extra outdoor clothing and footwear: extra gloves, hats, fleece, boots. Often we dress for our destination and not for the weather. Having this extra clothing for each person in the car will be a saving grace in severe weather.

Chemical hand warmers that fit in mitts or boots will help keep your fingers and toes warm.

Food and water: Protein bars and high energy bars keep your energy up if stranded for awhile. Water and protein shakes in plastic bottles expand when frozen and thus will better tolerate the cold weather conditions in the car.


First Aid Kit

NOAA radio

Whistle: this is an excellent low energy expenditure method of attracting attention in an emergency.

Flashlight and extra batteries

Cell phone and Spare Charger

Contact list of your family and friends: This is especially important if you haven’t memorized all of your family and friends phone numbers outside of speed dial status. If your phone isn’t working, and you need to call someone from the gas station, that written contact list may mean you having contact with your family or not.

Ability to keep your car safe

Small shovel and sand or kitty litter

Tire chains

Tow straps

Jumper cables

flares, reflectors, warning lights

Windshield scraper and snow brush

Windshield wipers and windshield washer fluid

Now you are in the know!

Stay safe out there during our first snow fall of the season!





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