Storm Information and Preparedness Center
INFORMATION AND UPDATES FROM THE COUNTY OF SANTA BARBARA
National Weather Service Terms and Definitions
Do you know the difference between a Flood Watch, Warning or Advisory, and a Flash Flood Warning issued by the National Weather Service?
- Flash Flood Warning:
- Take Action! A Flash Flood Warning is issued when a flash flood is imminent or occurring. If you are in a flood prone area move immediately to high ground. A flash flood is a sudden violent flood that can take from minutes to hours to develop. It is even possible to experience a flash flood in areas not immediately receiving rain.
- Flood Warning:
- Take Action! A Flood Warning is issued when the hazardous weather event is imminent or already happening. A Flood Warning is issued when flooding is imminent or occurring.
- Flood Watch:
- Be Prepared: A Flood Watch is issued when conditions are favorable for a specific hazardous weather event to occur. A Flood Watch is issued when conditions are favorable for flooding. It does not mean flooding will occur, but it is possible.
- Flood Advisory:
- Be Aware: A Flood Advisory is issued when a specific weather event that is forecast to occur may become a nuisance. A Flood Advisory is issued when flooding is not expected to be bad enough to issue a warning. However, it may cause significant inconvenience, and if caution is not exercised, it could lead to situations that may threaten life and/or property.
For more information, see the full list of National Weather Service Watch, Warning and Advisory Definitions