The National Weather Service has announced a tornado watch for a significant portion of New York State, including the Southern Tier, until 9:00 p.m. on Wednesday, July 10.

National Weather Service
National Weather Service

As per the latest weather advisory, you should be prepared for potential severe weather conditions if you are in an area within the highlighted portion of the map above.

What Is a Tornado Watch?

A tornado watch is issued when the weather conditions are conducive to the formation of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes. It means that people should remain alert and ready for potential severe weather conditions.

You should review and be prepared to enact your emergency plans in case the threat escalates. That means identifying the safest possible shelter in your building, selecting the most sheltered areas, and getting emergency supplies such as non-perishable food, water, batteries, and weather radio.

What Is a Tornado Warning?

A tornado warning indicates that a tornado has been spotted by either radar or a person and is considered imminent - as in there's an excellent chance there could be or is one very close to where you are. Once a tornado warning is issued, you should take immediate action and seek shelter immediately.

The National Weather Service advises individuals to protect themselves and their families in the event of a tornado warning by immediately promptly moving to a safe place such as a storm shelter or a reinforced interior room. You should stay in your shelter until the tornado warning has expired.

The Importance of Preparedness

In addition to staying informed and being aware of tornado watches and warnings, it is important to stay prepared. That means having necessary supplies, such as emergency food, water, and first aid kits readily available.

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It's also essential to identify a safe place within your home or building for taking shelter during a tornado. Doing so will save you time and minimize confusion if and when a warning is issued.

Ways to Remember the Difference Between a Watch and a Warning

My son and I each have our own ways to help us remember the difference between a watch and a warning when we forget.

My son thinks of a "watch" as when you’re shopping for ingredients to bake a cake (the ingredients that cause the weather event are collecting). He thinks of a "warning" as when the ingredients have been mixed, and the cake is in the oven and baking (the weather event is actively happening).

The way I remember is that a “watch” means you’re keeping an eye out for something. On the other hand, the word “warning” has an “i” in it as in “imminent” –  buckle in, it’s happening or about to happen.

LOOK: Counties with the most tornadoes in New York

Stacker compiled a list of counties which experience the most tornadoes in New York using data from NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information.

Gallery Credit: Stacker

KEEP READING: What to do after a tornado strikes