UNDATED -- Today marks the beginning of Severe Weather Awareness Week. The Stearns County Emergency Management Department is encouraging you brush up on your knowledge of storm dangers and come up with a weather emergency plan.

Todd Krause is a warning coordination meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Chanhassen. He says being aware is vital.

Today's focus is on alerts and warnings. A tornado watch means that thunderstorms with tornadoes are possible in your area. You're asked to pay attention to local news and weather organizations closely to monitor the storm and have a plan in place in case the threat turns into a warning.

A tornado warning means that a tornado has been sighted in your area. You're asked to seek shelter immediately.

A severe thunderstorm watch indicates that a thunderstorm with damaging winds and large hail is possible. You'll want to remain alert and pay attention to your local radio, television or online weather source.

A severe thunderstorm warning signifies that a storm with strong, damaging winds has been reported in your area. It's important to seek shelter immediately and put your sever weather plan into action.

Tomorrow's topics include the myths and facts surrounding thunderstorms, lightening and hail.