A Hurricane Watch vs. Warning: What’s the Difference?

It’s natural to feel apprehensive when you hear a hurricane may be coming your way. But when you should start worrying, when you should start preparing your home for heavy winds, and when you should evacuate may be unclear if you’ve never experienced a hurricane firsthand. Understanding the difference between a hurricane watch and warning can help you begin planning your next steps, and help you avoid having to call a water damage company after the storm has passed.

Hurricane Watch: A hurricane watch is generally the possibility of a hurricane. A hurricane watch is announced 48 hours before the anticipated tropical storm winds start hitting your area.

Hurricane Warning: A hurricane warning means that hurricane conditions are expected. These warnings are delivered 36 hours before the tropical storm winds hit your area to allow everyone the necessary time to prepare their homes and possibly evacuate.

If a Hurricane Watch is issued in your area, make sure you:

  • Stay tuned in. You want to continually be checking the news for updates about the hurricane’s progress.
  • Review your Hurricane Preparedness Plan. If you don’t have one, there’s no better time than the present.
  • Get ready to act if the Hurricane Watch becomes a Hurricane Warning.

If a Hurricane Warning is issued in your area, make sure you:

  • Get your home ready.
    • Remove everything from your yard that could potentially blow away
    • Close shutters or nail plywood to windows to protect from shattering
    • Know how to turn off your power, just in case you encounter flooding, etc.
    • Lower your freezer and fridge temperatures to the lowest possible in case the power goes out
  • Get your family ready.
    • Implement your Hurricane Preparedness Plan
    • Pack emergency documents
    • Listen for news updates and disaster sirens
    • Make sure you have necessary emergency water supply, food and medicine, safety items, personal care products, etc.
    • Have a full tank of gas in your car

After the hurricane has passed, do not wade in flood water. Doing so can result in electrical shock and/or encounters with dangerous debris. As soon as local authorities say it’s safe, call your local water damage company to assess and lead the cleanup. Entrusted can help your life get back to normal quickly and safely following a hurricane.