Today marks the second day of Severe Weather Awareness Week April 15-21st for the state of Colorado.

The topic for today is Watches and Warnings.

The National Weather Service sees the potential for severe weather, and a stream of weather information flows from their forecast offices to you.

If severe weather becomes likely within six hours, a watch will be issued, alerting you to the increased risk for severe weather. If you are in or close to the watch area, you should plan where to go for shelter if severe weather occurs. If high wind is a threat, tying down or bringing loose objects indoors would be a wise move. If large hail is a threat, protecting your vehicle would be a good idea.

Then, forecasters at the local National Weather Service forecast office will monitor satellite and radar data, and collaborate with severe weather spotters. Forecasters will issue warnings to alert you of the imminent severe weather threat. Those warnings are provided through many different avenues in order to reach the most people possible.

A warning is an urgent message telling you that severe weather or flooding is imminent or is already occurring. Warnings are storm-based, and usually issued for an area smaller than a county.

A severe thunderstorm warning is issued for a storm that includes wind gusts of 58 mph or higher, or for hail one inch in diameter or larger.

A tornado warning is issued when a tornado is spotted or observed on radar.

A flash flood warning is issued for rapidly developing life-threatening flooding.

Before and during severe weather, you can receive watches, warnings, and advisories on a NOAA Weather Radio. These are available at most general merchandise stores. Do not be caught off guard. Know how to receive watch and warning information, have multiple ways to receive your warnings, and know what to do when severe weather threatens.

Sign up for emergency alerts at