What constitutes a Weather Authority Alert Day? | Criteria & Thresholds

Weather Authority Alert Day (WSLS)

At Your Local Weather Authority, we are not about hyping and we never will be.  This really is all about keeping you and your family safe and sound.  That is and always will be our commitment to you.  This will be a true team effort from every meteorologist and is not something we take lightly.  Thank you for watching WSLS 10 and for trusting Your Local Weather Authority.

Severe Weather Threshold

  • Severe Thunderstorms
  • Hail the size of quarters or larger
  • 60 MPH winds (generally the threshold for damaging wind)


  • If a tornado is possible, a Weather Authority Alert Day will be issued


  • Quarter size or larger

Damaging wind

  • 60 MPH or stronger


  • If we think flash flooding is possible, we will issue a Weather Authority Alert Day (if you follow the Weather Prediction Center, that would include a slight risk —level 2 risk, for flooding or higher

Extreme Heat

  • If Extreme Heat Warnings are issued, a Weather Authority Alert Day will be issued. That means “feel like” temperatures of 110 degrees or above.

Winter Weather Threshold

  • Ice:  1/10 of an inch or greater
  • Snow: One Inch or more anywhere (minus the west slopes, which see a lot more snow every year)
  • Cold temps: Wind chill of 20 below zero OR if actual temperatures get close to zero

We will also if need be issue a Weather Authority Alert Day if we feel travel could be dangerous even if these thresholds are not met. For example if we have only a couple of hundredths of an inch ice, but roads are slick, we may make the call to issue a WAAD to make sure you are safe.

Tropical weather

  • While we don’t get any landfalling hurricanes here in our area, we do deal with the remnants of tropical systems quite a bit.  And if any type of severe weather is expected (whether it is flooding, tornadoes, damaging wind, etc) from a tropical low, we will issue a Weather Authority Alert Day.

Air Quality Forecast

  • If we are in Code Orange (unhealthy for sensitive groups), we will also issue a Weather Authority Alert Day


  • If a High Wind Warning is issued and power outages are anticipated, we will also issue a Weather Authority Alert Day

About the Author:

Chief Meteorologist Jeff Haniewich is an American Meteorological Society (AMS) Certified Broadcaster, forecasting weather conditions in southwest Virginia on WSLS 10 News at 5, 5:30, 6 and 11 p.m. every weekday.