How will you be warned?

There are no watches or warnings issued for lightning per se.

  • Though severe thunderstorms can certainly contain a lot of lightning, not all of them do, and many thunderstorms laden with lightning occur without being designated "severe" and without any watches or warnings in effect.
  • Severe thunderstorms are defined as those which produce hail 3/4 inch in diameter or larger, wind gusts 58 mph or greater, and/or tornadoes. (Please see the Tornado section for more information.)
  • Severe Thunderstorm Watch - Conditions are conducive to the development of severe thunderstorms in and close to the watch area.
  • Severe Thunderstorm Warning - A severe thunderstorm has actually been observed by spotters or indicated on radar, and is occurring or imminent in the warning area.
  • In lieu of official lightning warnings and watches, you can keep your own vigilant watch, both on the sky and the forecast.
  • Keep alert for thunder and lightning, and for signs that can be (though aren't always) associated with thunderstorms, such as darkening clouds and sudden wind shifts.
  • Tune into The Weather Channel and watch your local forecast on the 8's of every hour for updates for your area. You can also consult the NOAA Weather Radio for the latest storm updates.

Show All Answers

1. What are some of the facts about lightning?
2. Are you at risk?
3. What should I know about anticipate lightning?
4. How close is the lightning?
5. How will you be warned?
6. What should to do before lightning strikes?
7. What if a severe thunderstorm warning is in effect/issued?
8. What about after the storm?
9. What are some lightning myths?