Alarm level

From Glossary of Meteorology

alarm level

Likelihood of or confidence in a forecast or report of dangerous, threatening, or damaging weather-related phenomena.

For example, a warning or watch may be issued based on either a forecast or observation of severe thunderstorms, flash flooding, river flooding, high winds, winter storms, etc. The National Weather Service does not wait for the event to occur before warning the public; there must be some lead time associated with it, such as a flood warning prior to reaching flood stage.