The United States Coast Guard Auxiliary strongly suggests all members of the public that are in Hurricane, Tornado and Severe Thunderstorm areas take the time and educate themselves about these powerful natural occurrences.
As such, the Auxiliary is re-publishing several informational releases in order to educate boaters and fellow citizens around the country.
Weather plays an important part in recreational boating safety. The Auxiliary teaches the boating public that before you venture out on your boat, that you not only check the weather forecast, but do so all during your time on the boat. Fast moving weather systems can take a day of fun on the water and turn it into a disaster.
The National Weather Service provides advisories to the nation on both large storms like Hurricane Rita as well as local thunderstorms and tornados.
Most people are confused by some of the terminology used by the National Weather Service. The two most confusing terms are "Warning" and "Watch".
A "Watch" issued for your area indicates the possibility that you could experience adverse conditions. Depending on the type of Watch (Hurricane, Tornado or Severe Thunderstorm) the criteria changes.
This watch should trigger your family's disaster plan, and protective measures should be initiated, especially those actions that require extra time such as securing a boat, leaving a barrier island, etc.
A "Warning" issued for your area indicates that the adverse conditions will or is happening (again based on the type of weather).
Once this warning has been issued, your family should be in the process of completing protective actions and deciding the safest location to be during the storm.
Below are some links to information that can help you and your family understand these storms, as well prepare for them.
Hurricane and Other Severe Weather Guides from NOAA's National Hurricane Center
Hurricane Awareness from NOAA's National Weather Service
Hurricanes...Unleashing Nature's Fury: Hurricane safety and information from the American Red Cross, NOAA and FEMA (PDF Format) http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/brochures/hurr.pdf