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NWS Considering Tiers of Severe Thunderstorm Warnings

1 Jul 2020, 3:08 pm

The National Weather Service (NWS) is considering a new impact-based warning system to better alert the public for especially dangerous severe thunderstorms.

The proposal, released earlier this week by the NWS, would add a tiered system to severe thunderstorm warnings. In the event that a storm is packing especially strong winds or large hail, it could be classified as having a “considerable” or “destructive” damage threat to it.

The official definition of a severe thunderstorm is one packing one of the following: winds of 58 mph or greater, hail an inch in size in diameter or greater, or a tornado.

The potential new system, though, is designed to warn the public about severe storms that may contain especially strong winds or exceptionally strong hail. In other words, if a severe thunderstorm meets certain criteria, it would get labeled with a more serious type of warning.

The NWS proposal would categorize a severe thunderstorm with estimated winds of 70 mph and/or golf ball sized hail or larger as having a “considerable” threat for producing damage that could endanger life or property.

A storm with 80 mph winds and/or baseball size hail (2.75 inches in diameter), meanwhile, would get a “destructive” tag to it.

The point of the potential new system is to alert the public to storms that may have an especially severe weather hazard to them. Storms with winds in excess of 70 mph and hail larger than golf balls are typically far more destructive than storms of simply 58 mph and/or an inch in diameter or larger, and the possible new system is meant to highlight those potential added storm hazards.

Public feedback is welcomed on this possible new system through July 31st, and you can submit yours here.

Stay with WeatherNation for the latest on this proposal.

About the author
Chris doesn't remember a time when that he didn't love the weather. When he was five years old, he wrote his first words, "Partly cloudy", in Ms. Benn's kindergarten class. According to Chris, it's been a love affair ever since, from teaching himself how to read forecast models at age 12, to landing at WeatherNation. Growing up in Greenwich, Connecticut, he started to go after his lifelong drea... Load Morem of becoming a meteorologist by predicting whether or not there would be snow days - turning him into Greenwich High School's "defacto weatherman". He turned that snow day-predicting website into a front page story a local newspaper, which in turn earned him a look at WABC-TV in New York, where Chris did the weather live on-air at the age of 16. He attended Boston University, where he continued being a "weather nerd", performing weather updates on the campus radio and TV stations, and doing the daily forecasts for the student newspaper. Following his studies at BU, Chris worked at Mile High Sports and ESPN Denver for four years while pursuing his certification in Broadcast Meteorology from Mississippi State University. Chris is a huge sports fan, rooting for the Rockies, Nuggets, Broncos, Avalanche and UConn. He frequently find links between sports and weather, including an investigative analysis he did in 2013, finding trends between Peyton Manning's play and game time temperature (he doesn't like the cold). Chris also enjoys running, playing any sport, socializing and periodically overeating at all-you-can-eat buffets.

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