What is the difference between a watch and a warning? It seems like every year when we are going through these storms, we ask the question. Which one is worse? Is that the bad one? We tested each other and only one of us got it right.
A warning means that hurricane conditions are expected whereas a watch means that conditions are possible.
So a watch comes first, and the warning comes next. A Warning mean danger is imminent! I remember it by thinking that because warning is a longer word, that's the worse one.
The terms apply whether it is a tropical storm watch/warning, hurricane, storm surge, etc...