NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – “Destructive,” severe thunderstorm warnings will pop up as an alert on your cellphone, similar to tornado warnings, thanks to the National Weather Service’s decision to break severe thunderstorm warnings down into three new categories.
The agency always had a”base” with 58-70 mph winds and 1″ to 1.5″ hail. But now they’re adding “considerable” severe thunderstorm warnings for 70-80 mph winds and golf ball-sized hail and “destructive” severe thunderstorm warnings for 80 mph winds or higher and baseball-sized hail.
Cellphone alerts will not be deployed for the other two categories of severe thunderstorm warnings because officials fear people will get alert fatigue.
A recent example of a “destructive” storm that would have warranted the alert was the Derecho on May 3, 2020, which swept across Tennessee and caused widespread damage.
Additionally, the NWS will treat flash flood warnings in a similar way, adding “considerable” and “catastrophic” categories.
The NWS will drop the two types of flood watches – flash flood watch and flood watch – and use only “flood watch.”
The NWS hopes that the new warning system will be more effective in warning people before dangerous weather events and hopefully save lives.