Changes are coming to how Watches, Warnings and Advisories are issued by the National Weather Service

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A rare lightning storm crackles over Mitchell’s Cove in Santa Cruz, California around 3 a.m. Sunday morning. The severe storm system rolled through the San Francisco and Monterey Bay area early Sunday, packing a combination of dry lightning and high winds that triggered wildfires throughout the region. (Shmuel Thaler/The Santa Cruz Sentinel via AP)

CHARLESTON, WV (WVNS/WOWK) — Confusion surrounding the various types of watches, warnings, and advisories will soon be a thing of the past. At least that’s the goal of the National Weather Services “Hazard Simplification Project.” Since as early as 2010, the NWS has been collecting feedback from the public as well as other meteorologists in order to find out how to best issue and word their products to deliver critical weather information as effectively and as simply as possible.

Currently, the National Weather Service (NWS) issues a variety of products that include but are not limited to: special weather statements, advisories, watches and warnings. In their recent announcement, the NWS set a goal that by 2024 they are going to completely phase out the use of “Special Weather Statements” and “Advisories” as it was found these created the most confusion in the general public. Instead, those products will be replaced with “Plain Language Headlines.”

The NWS has provided a few early examples of how the new product might differ from the old style of alerts.

Courtesy: NWS/NOAA

“Watches” and “Warnings” are not set to undergo any major changes in the near future, and now will be at the forefront before or during a severe weather event.

While watches and warnings may not be changing, it is always important to know the differences between them.

A “watch” means something can happen such as severe thunderstorm
A “warning” means something IS happening such as a severe thunderstorm

You should have multiple ways of receiving weather bulletins. A great way is to download the StormTracker 13 weather app for free right here. Enable location services for the app and within the app, under ” Saf-T-Net Alerts,” enable all alert types with sound and banners on your phone and you’ll receive alerts for your location the instant they are sent.

For local forecasts, weather alerts, live VIPIR Radar and more, download the FREE StormTracker 13 Weather App from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store.

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