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Tornado watch vs tornado warning: What's the difference?

A tornado watch was issued for most of Tampa Bay through the morning of Super Bowl Sunday.

TAMPA, Fla — With storms forecast to roll through the Tampa Bay area Saturday night into Sunday morning, you might want to take your phone off silent.

The Storm Prediction Center has highlighted a chunk of the area -- primarily from St. Petersburg to Tampa and Orlando and points northward -- for a slight risk of severe weather. 

On a scale of one to five, consider the threat a two at this time, with damaging winds, hail and perhaps a waterspout or tornado possible. A lesser, marginal risk of severe weather is forecast south of the Tampa Bay area.

Just before 11 p.m. a tornado watch was put in effect for Manatee County, Hernando County, Polk County, Hillsborough County, Pinellas County, Sarasota County, Citrus County and Pasco County. It is set in place until 7 a.m. Sunday.

This is a breakdown of what a tornado watch and a tornado warning mean:

Tornado watch: Be prepared! A watch means conditions are right for a tornado to form. A tornado watch means it's possible to see one in and near the area under the advisory. This is a good time to review and discuss your emergency plans and check supplies and your safe room.  

People who are somewhere a tornado watch has been issued should be ready to act fast of a tornado warning is issued or you think a tornado is approaching. 

Tornado warning: Take action now! A tornado warning means there has been one indicated by a weather radar or sighted. 

People should move to an interior room on the lowest floor of a sturdy building. You should avoid windows. 

Tornado warnings are issued by the area's local forecast office.


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