Changes to NWS severe thunderstorm warnings starting Monday

The National Weather Service is changing the way they alert the public about severe thunderstorms.

The NWS is breaking down severe thunderstorm warnings into three different categories based on their threat of damage, beginning today.

The categories, in order of highest to lowest damage threat, are destructive, considerable, and base. These tags and additional messages are designed to promote immediate action, based on the threats.

  • The criteria for a destructive damage threat is at least 2.75-inch diameter (baseball-sized) hail and/or 80 mph thunderstorm winds. Warnings with this tag will automatically activate a Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) on smartphones within the warned area.
  • The criteria for a considerable damage threat is at least 1.75-inch diameter (golf ball-sized) hail and/or 70 mph thunderstorm winds. This will not activate a WEA.
  • The criteria for a baseline or “base” severe thunderstorm warning remains unchanged, 1.00 inch (quarter-sized) hail and/or 58 mph thunderstorm winds. This will not activate a WEA. When no damage threat tag is present, the damage is expected to be at the base level.

For more information, visit weather.gov/news.

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