(KTXL) — When rain or snow is in the forecast, potential hazardous weather leads to either a watch, warning, or advisory by the National Weather Service. 

The watch, warnings, and advisories also appear in the summer, when excessive heat is possible, and when there’s a threat of a wildfire. 

Here is the difference between a weather watch, warning, or advisory.

Weather Watch

According to the NWS, a watch is issued when there is potential for hazardous weather, but its occurrence, location, or timing is uncertain. 

A weather watch doesn’t mean significant and hazardous weather will occur, but it means a hazardous weather event is possible. People should have a plan in action in case they eventually become threatened by a storm. 

When issued, a watch is intended to provide enough time to allow people to set their plans in motion in case they need to do so. The NWS said those who are in an area with a weather watch should listen for later information and possible warnings, especially when planning travel or outdoor activities. 

Weather Advisory

When hazardous weather is occurring, imminent or likely, then that’s when the NWS issues an advisory. 

Weather advisories are for less serious conditions than warnings, as the weather is expected to cause significant inconvenience, but not serious enough to warrant a warning. 

If caution is not exercised, the NWS says certain situations may threaten life or property. 

Weather Warning

The NWS issues a weather warning when a significant combination of hazardous conditions are happening or imminent and is considered a threat to life or property. 

When a warning is issued, the NWS says people in the conditions, such as a winter storm, need to take protective action.