Terminology Heard on Weather Band Radios

If you have bought weather band radios to help ensure your safety, you are halfway towards keeping yourself safe. Access to what is broadcast on the weather radios is certainly a good thing. However, access alone will not keep you safe. Why is this? When you listen to the reports issued by the National Weather Service, you will be hearing a great deal of alert terminology that might not be familiar to you. If you do not understand what is being said then you are not going to be able to respond appropriately.

Considering the fact you are purchasing weather band radios for your safety, you do not want to have any misunderstandings about what is broadcast on the radio.
Of course, it would be difficult for a novice to learn all of the jargon used by the NSW through one article. So, we will cover the common terms you will most often hear on weather band radios.

These terms are:
* Outlook
* Watch
* Advisory
* Warning
* Special Weather Statement

Outlook is exactly as its name implies. It refers to an analysis of severe weather that may be on the horizon as well as any other event that should be concern. Outlooks are issued two times per day at 7am and 12pm and cover one full week.

Watch is an advance warning of the potential for hazardous weather or other emergency situations such as flooding or other events which may be on the horizon. A watch tells you to be mindful but is rather general in how it does it. The reason for this is that there will still be an air of uncertainly about the severity of the problem that has arisen. While not a severe or treacherous warning, a watch indication from weather band radios will allow you to be mindful of any hazards that might potentially occur.

An advisory ratchets up the warning levels as this would be an alert that weather conditions will be quite inconvenient and are very possibly going to occur. Because of this, it becomes necessary to be cautious because problematic events are likely. While not as serious as higher level warnings, danger is present. As such, you need to address the situation in the appropriate manner which would be to a little extra cautious.

A warning is exactly that - a warning that a serious weather condition is highly probable. The exact weather or event has been definitively defined and it will not be avoidable. With a warning, conditions have become dangerous. That means significant property damage may be likely and there could also be a serious threat to your life. A warning is a cause for alarm and the NWS would not send it out on weather radios without just cause.

A special weather statement is not something you are going to hear very often. It occurs when something out of the ordinary happens or if a change in conditions is imminent in a specified region. Such a change can bring forth serious risk to your life.

These are the most common alert terms common broadcast. Becoming familiar with them is a must.


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