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National Weather Service adding categories for Severe Thunderstorm Warnings to smart phones (1 Viewer)

Mike S

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Thoughts?

TMI for the general public? Will they start downplaying non-categorized warnings or will this help improve communications?

I'm all for more detailed warnings but I admit it can be difficult to view things through the non-weather geek eye.


July 22, 2021 - Severe thunderstorms can be life-threatening, but not all severe storms are the same. Hazardous conditions range from tornadoes, large hail storms, and widespread straight-line winds called derechoes, to cloud-to-ground lightning and flash flooding. Starting August 2, the National Weather Service will better convey the severity and potential impacts from thunderstorm winds and hail by adding a “damage threat” tag to Severe Thunderstorm Warnings, similar to our Tornado and Flash Flood Warnings.

“Destructive” and “Considerable” Damage Threat Categories

We developed three categories of damage threat for Severe Thunderstorm Warnings. The categories, in order of highest to lowest damage threat, are destructive, considerable, and base. These tags and additional messaging are designed to promote immediate action, based on the threats. A Wireless Emergency Alert for a Severe Thunderstorm Warning

  • 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, damage is expected to be at the base level.



 

warneagle

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I thought they already triggered it for regular SVR warnings. Maybe I'm imagining that though.
 

Taylor Campbell

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I thought they already triggered it for regular SVR warnings. Maybe I'm imagining that though.

I’ve never received a severe thunderstorm warning to my phone through WEA. It should have been happening, but it hasn’t happened. They are going to start doing it, but not for base line severe thunderstorms. I think it’s still important to be warned about those storms.
 

KoD

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I’ve never received a severe thunderstorm warning to my phone through WEA. It should have been happening, but it hasn’t happened. They are going to start doing it, but not for base line severe thunderstorms. I think it’s still important to be warned about those storms.
Me neither, I've had a little notification from Google services since it's a Google phone but not anything like a tornado warning. I hope they use it sparingly or there's going to be a lot of people disabling or disregarding those alerts.
 
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Me neither, I've had a little notification from Google services since it's a Google phone but not anything like a tornado warning. I hope they use it sparingly or there's going to be a lot of people disabling or disregarding those alerts.

I agree, they should not be used for routine severe thunderstorm warnings. The alerts are so loud and jarring like the world is ending. One time in 2018 I was driving with my gf (now fiancee) and both our phones went off with a WEA for an AMBER alert (turned out a 13-year-old girl had been kidnapped in the area, she vanished for 2 months before escaping, the guy had murdered her parents in order to take her, was quite a big story here locally), it startled me so much I almost swerved off the road.

WEAs were also sent out in March 2020 when our state's "Safer at Home" order was issued for COVID-19. I disagree with that use as well, IMO the WEA should only be used for short-fuse threats like tornado warnings, flash floods, gas leaks, etc.
 

warneagle

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Speaking of bad uses of the WEAs, I got woken up at 2 am last night for a boil water advisory in northeast DC. Apparently this WEA went out to lots of people in VA and MD even though we're not on the same water system.
 

warneagle

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And speaking of bad uses of WEAs again, I got a flash flood warning alert even though the warning is only in MD, and it's not even raining anywhere in my county.
 

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