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What is a ‘PDS’ Tornado Watch?

12 Jun 2017, 2:12 pm

If you were watching WeatherNation on Monday afternoon, you probably heard the term ‘PDS’ tornado watch mentioned several times. One was issued for parts of Wyoming, Colorado and Nebraska.

Simply put, PDS stands for a Particularly Dangerous Situation. Self explanatory, right? Well, here are a few other statistics about them, and why you should heed these types of alerts especially strongly.

-It means there is a considerable threat of strong, widespread and damaging tornadoes. 80-90 percent of tornado deaths and damage come from strong tornadoes, and this type of watch is meant to communicate an enhanced threat for potentially killer tornadoes.

-According to a Storm Prediction Center (SPC) research paper, between 1996 and 2005, only about 7 percent of all tornado watches received a ‘PDS’ label, and 22 total in 10 years

-At least one tornado was reported in nearly 85 percent of PDS tornado watches between 1996 and 2005

-Nearly 45 percent of PDS watches produced at least one ‘strong’ tornado, or one of F2 (on the old Fujita scale) or greater strength

Point here: take these watches seriously. Have a plan and a way to get those warnings, and stay with us here at WeatherNation.

For WeatherNation: Meteorologist Chris Bianchi

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