ROANOKE, Va. – The National Weather Service (NWS) has announced changes to how they will be issuing severe thunderstorm warnings, starting in late April or early May.
The changes will affect how Your Local Weather Authority communicates the threats from storms and you also may receive alerts to your cell phones that you were not getting before.
There will be three categories for severe thunderstorm warnings: base, considerable and destructive.
The base warning will not trigger the Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) system. It has the same criteria as any standard severe thunderstorm warning: 60 mile per hour winds and/or 1″ diameter (or quarter-sized) hail.
A “considerable” warning is one step up from the base warning. You can expect 70 mile per hour winds and/or golf ball-sized (1.75″ diameter) hail if placed under this type of alert. Just like the base warnings, no alert will be sent for a considerable warning.
Finally, the strongest storms will be designated with the “destructive” tag. These warnings will trigger alerts to your cell phone, as they carry the potential for 80 mile per hour winds and/or baseball-sized (2.75″ diameter) hail.
If you have severe weather alert notifications turned on in Your Local Weather Authority app, these changes will not affect your ability to receive warnings.