MIKE MOSS SAYS: Donna, Typically, advisories are intended to alert the public about weather conditions that may have some modest impacts or cause moderate disruptions, but that usually will cause little threat to life and property. Watches and warnings, on the other hand, tend to be focused on more serious weather events that may lead to property damage and/or potentially to injuries or death. In these cases, watches are usually either an alert that atmospheric conditions for the weather event in question are either favorable or will become favorable within a time frame that varies with the type of watch, while a warning indicates that the event is imminent or underway.
You can get a feel for how advisories, watches and warnings for our area compare by looking over the matrix used by the Raleigh National Weather Service Forecast Office to define their watch/warning program. It is available on the web at