Be ready, Round Rock: How to stay informed when weather turns severe

Most Central Texans know firsthand how unpredictable our weather can be, but this week, the forecast will be dependably…soggy.

What could be more unpredictable is the severity of this week’s weather. Round Rock is currently in peak severe thunderstorm and tornado season, which usually lasts from March to June. Here are some important tips to keep in mind:

Sign up for alerts

Most people have received automatic messages about flash flooding accompanied by a loud ringer or vibration on their phone — these are notifications through the Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) system, which automatically pushes weather alerts from the National Weather Service directly to your phone through a location-based technology. No opt-in is required for these important messages.

Residents can also sign up for Warn Central Texas, a regional notification system to alert the public to emergency situations. Users can choose what types of alerts they want to receive and how they want to receive the alerts, such as text message, phone call and/or email. Alerts are sent based off locations you register on your account, so you can add your home and work locations. To register, visit warncentraltexas.org.

Watches vs. warnings

The National Weather Service (NWS) issues watches and warnings for possible severe weather as appropriate, but do you know the difference?

Severe Thunderstorm Watch: 
Be prepared! Severe thunderstorms are possible in and near the watch area. Stay informed and be ready to act if a severe thunderstorm warning is issued.  Watches are issued by the Storm Prediction Center for areas where severe weather may occur.

Severe Thunderstorm Warning:
Take action!  A severe thunderstorm has been indicated by radar or reported by a spotter producing hail one inch or larger in diameter and/or winds exceeding 58 mph. Warnings indicate imminent danger to life and property. Take shelter in a substantial building. Severe thunderstorms can produce tornadoes with little or no advance warning.

Tornado Watch:
Be prepared! Stay aware. A tornado is possible within the watch area.

Tornado Warning:
Take action! A tornado has been sighted or indicated by radar. There is a danger to life and property.  Get to a safe place away from windows, on the lowest floor, in an interior room. Do not stay under an overpass in your vehicle! Being in a vehicle or mobile home is not safe during tornadoes. 

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