BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – Severe weather can strike at any time of year in Southeast Louisiana, but it’s most likely to occur during the spring and fall months.

It is important that you have your severe weather safety plan in place before storms arrive. That way, you know what to do in case severe weather strikes.

Before and during severe weather, you will hear about a watch and a warning. It’s important to know the difference between the two terms.

If conditions are favorable for severe storms, tornadoes, flash flooding, winter weather and other impactful weather to occur, the National Weather Service will issue a watch.

A watch is issued over the span of several hours and can cover several states or portions of states. A watch means that you should pay attention, have your plan in place, and be ready to act, if needed.

A warning is issued if severe weather is imminent or is occuring. Severe weather warnings are issued usually 20 minutes to an hour in advance, which means you need to act quickly and take cover immediately. Warnings cover much smaller areas – portions of counties or parishes.

A fun way to remember the difference between a watch and a warning is a Crawfish Boil Watch versus a Crawfish Boil Warning:

A Crawfish Boil Watch means that all of the ingredients are there for the boil – live crawfish, potatoes, corn, mushrooms, etcetera. This means you should standby & keep “watch” with your family and friends.

A Crawfish Boil Warning means that all of those ingredients successfully came together and it’s time to act immediately before it’s too late.