Right now, Severe Thunderstorm Warnings are issued whenever winds of 58 mph or higher and/or hail 1″ in diameter or larger are expected.
The new warning criteria will identify when considerable or destructive damage is possible or expected.
Under the new system, when a Severe Thunderstorm Warning is issued, it will specify if the threat is Radar Indicated or Spotter Observed. It will also be “tagged” with Considerable Damage Threat when winds of 70 to 80 mph and/or 1¾-2½” diameter hail is expected or possible and Destructive Damage Threat when winds of more than 80 mph and/or 2¾” diameter hail is expected or possible.
Another addition will be that when a Severe Thunderstorm Warning with a Destructive Damage Threat is issued, it will alert on cell phones as a Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) through FEMA‘s Integrated Public Alert And Warning System (IPAWS).
As of right now, there are no plans to change the format of Tornado Warnings as these already broadcast as a WEA through IPAWS.
Stay with the Arkansas Storm Team for the latest updates this severe weather season. Download the Arkansas Storm Team app to track the latest weather forecasts wherever you are in the Natural State.