NWS to send phone alerts for ‘destructive’ thunderstorms

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Oklahoma is no stranger to severe weather across the state, and the National Weather Service is updating the way it labels certain storms.

The National Weather Service is updating the way that it describes the severity of thunderstorms across the country.

Beginning Aug. 2, the NWS will add a ‘damage threat’ tag to severe thunderstorm warnings.

Officials say they developed three categories of damage threat for severe thunderstorm warnings.

The categories are as follows:

  • Destructive: A destructive damage threat is at least 2.75 inch diameter (baseball-sized) hail and/or 80 mile per hour thunderstorm winds. Warnings with this tag will automatically activate a Wireless Emergency Alert on smartphones within the warned area.
  • Considerable: A considerable damage threat is at least 1.75 inch diameter (golf ball-sized) hail and/or 70 mile per hour thunderstorm winds.
  • Base: A baseline severe thunderstorm warning remains unchanged, 1 inch (quarter-sized) hail and/or 58 mile per hour thunderstorm winds. When no damage threat tag is present, damage is expected to be at the base level.

On average, only 10 percent of all severe thunderstorms reach the destructive category each year.

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