How many times have you heard that there was a big storm coming, but didn't know which was worse, a storm watch or a warning?  Here's an easy way to remember.

One thing we get a lot of in Buffalo is storms

We get everything from quick popup storms that last a few minutes, to heavy storms that could last a couple days or more.  People like to complain about how wrong the weather forecasters can be, but honestly, some of the technology we've got to narrow down what the weather is going to be is pretty impressive.  When they can break storms down minute-by-minute and tell you how heavy a rainstorm is going to be at a specific time, or how many inches of snow we will get in any given hour, it's pretty impressive.

What's the difference between a "Watch" and a "Warning?"

But what does it mean when they say that the National Weather Service has issued a "thunderstorm watch" for a specific county or a "snowstorm warning" for another?  Those terms are thrown around a lot but what do they actually mean?

The Erie County Department of Homeland Security & Emergency Services has a simple analogy for it.  They posted it on X, formerly known as Twitter today and it really makes sense.

Think of it as a recipe

When you think of it like you're baking or cooking it makes it much easier to understand.  A storm "Watch" means that all of the ingredients for that storm are there.  A storm warning means that that storm is all put together and it's coming our way.

To put it in "Buffalo Terms"


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