National Weather Service adding ‘damage threats’ to thunderstorm warnings


OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – You’re about to have more specific warnings than ever when dangerous thunderstorms roll into Oklahoma.  

Starting Monday, Aug. 2, the National Weather Service is making changes to the way it issues severe thunderstorm warnings, specifically the information provided in the warnings about how destructive the storm will be. 

“It’s a great tool we’re going to have to let people know – get ready, something big is on its way,” said Rick Smith, with the National Weather Service in Norman. 

These modified alerts from the National Weather Service will be like the automatic emergency alerts you already get on your phone for flash floods, but this time, they will be more specific about how big and destructive the elements you may face will be. 

“If we put hail that’s 2.75 inches in diameter, that’s about baseball size, and/or 80 mile-per-hour winds. That’s going to add the destructive tag that we call it to the warning,” said Smith. 

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Inside the National Weather Service.

He says this is a change being implemented automatically across the country. 

“There’s no programming your phone,” Smith said. “So if you’re traveling and you drive into one of these severe thunderstorms with the big hail and the damaging winds, you’re going to get that automatically on your phone.”

He says it’s not just a change but truly a game-changer. 

“That’s a powerful new tool to let people know, this isn’t just any severe thunderstorm that’s coming your way – this is something that could truly be life-changing and even be deadly in some cases,” said Smith. 

The National Weather Service in Norman had a hand in the development of this warning system. 

For more details click here.  

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