ARKANSAS, USA — Severe thunderstorms are not one-size-fits-all around the country. Some storms produce very high winds, others can develop large baseball-sized hail.
The National Weather Service starting Monday will add a damage category to convey the type of danger that each severe thunderstorm warning could produce.
A severe thunderstorm is a storm that is capable of producing quarter-sized hail (1” in diameter) and/or winds of 58 mph or greater.
Warnings will be broken down into three options going from lowest damage threat to the highest damage and danger threat.
See the graphic below.
A general severe thunderstorm warning or “base” is applied to a storm that reaches the threshold for a severe thunderstorm.
A considerable tag is added to the text of the warning if weather information shows the potential or expectation of at least golfball-sized hail and/or 70 mph winds.
A destructive tag is added to the text of the warning if weather information shows the potential or expectation of at least baseball-sized hail and/or 80 mph damaging winds.
When this is issued a Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) will be triggered on all smart phones in the path of danger. This is the same type of alert you get for a tornado warning or amber alert. This would be issued when a supercell or derecho is expected.
Below is an example of what the new tag looks like when reading the WEA alert.
Remember, no matter how many lightning strikes a storm produces, that is not the criteria to define a storm as being severe and no warning will be issued solely on that threat.
Any storm can produce a deadly lightning strike. If you hear thunder that is a high warning that you are close enough to the storm to get struck. Get indoors or to a safe place ASAP.
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