Wheeling, WV – Thunderstorms can pop-up and really pack a punch with downpours, large hail, and cloud to ground lightning with a blink of an eye. The National Weather Service (NWS) is set to a launch a new Wireless Emergency Alert on mobile phones to alert on Destructive Severe Thunderstorms.
Starting August 2nd, the NWS will begin to issue an improved way to convey the severity and likely impacts that a thunderstorm may have by adding a “damaging threat” tag.
Three categories have been developed to show the damage levels within a Severe Thunderstorm Warning. The highest category in terms of most damage is destructive, then considerable, and then base being the lowest. The following categories are directly from the NWS:
The criteria for a destructive damage threat is at least 2.75 inch diameter (baseball-sized) hail and/or 80 mph 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.
This is also a good time to understand the difference between a watch and a warning. Imagine both scenarios in regards to baking a cake. A watch occurs when all the ingredients are there for an event to happen (or bake a cake). A warning occurs when all the ingredients form together and cause for a particular event to happen (or make the cake).
You can always stay weather aware and prepared by downloading the StormTracker7 app for free in the Google Play or App Store.
StormTracker7 Meteorologist Zach Petey