It’s important to know what National Weather Service alerts mean when a storm rolls in. In the case of a hurricane, there are two different alerts you should know: Hurricane Watch and Hurricane Warning.
Hurricane Watch — Hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or higher) are possible within a specified area. A hurricane watch is issued 48 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical storm-force winds in an area.
During a hurricane watch, prepare your home and review your plan for evacuation in case a hurricane warning is issued. Listen closely to instructions from local officials.
Hurricane Warning — Hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or higher) are expected within a specified area. Because hurricane preparedness activities become difficult once winds reach tropical storm force (39 to 73 mph), a hurricane warning is issued 36 hours in advance of the expected onset of tropical storm-force winds to allow for preparation.
During a hurricane warning, complete your storm preparations and immediately leave the threatened area as soon as an evacuation is recommended.