Know the Difference Between a Hurricane "Watch" and "Warning"
There are two kinds of alerts:
A hurricane watch means hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 miles per hour or higher) are possible in a stated area. Experts announce hurricane watches 48 hours before they expect tropical storm-force winds (sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph) to start.
A hurricane warning is more serious. It means hurricane-force winds are expected in a stated area. Experts issue these warnings 36 hours before tropical-storm-force winds are expected in the area to give people enough time to prepare for the storm.