Friday, May 24, 2024
Happening Now

New Severe Thunderstorm Alert To Categorize Dangerous Weather Conditions

A new wireless emergency alert (WEA) for thunderstorms has arrived from the National Weather Service.

The alert will add a damage threat tag to severe thunderstorm warnings. Nashville Warning Coordination Meteorologist Krissy Hurley said the National Weather Service created the system for more dangerous thunderstorms than the average storm.

“I think people will be glad to know that it’s not just your regular, old severe thunderstorm warning, something that gets issued all the time,” Hurley said. “But it’s something that needs your attention and you need to make sure that you’re inside and away from windows, and potentially seeking shelters.”

Hurley said the WEA will have three categories that change based on hail size and wind strength. The categories are divided into baseline with quarter-sized hail and winds under 60 mph, considerable with golf ball-sized hail and 70 mph winds, and destructive with baseball-sized hail and 80 mph winds. She said that the Upper Cumberland sees at least one destructive event a year.

“Where we get straight-line winds that are 80 mph or higher,” Hurley said. “And I think a lot of times people think ‘Well it got to be a tornado. Trees are down, there is structural damage.’ But not every system is caused by a tornado. So that’s where we’re able to alert people on their cell phones so we can increase awareness that these types of systems are just as destructive as an EF-1 tornado.”

Hurley said that the new WEA has been in the works for some time. She said that after doing surveys and focus groups with community members and professionals, this seemed to be an area where there were deficiencies.

“Where when we have these big-time Derechos or these bowing squall lines that we need some way to notify the public that ‘Hey, this is something more significant and more dangerous than a regular, old thunderstorm.'”

The program will begin operations on Monday, August 2nd.

Share