National Weather Service rolls out new descriptive severe weather warning system

Published: Jul. 23, 2021 at 6:24 AM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - The National Weather Service is rolling out a new way to describe severe thunderstorms.

The change will also activate an alert system for some types of storms.

Starting August 2, any time a Severe Thunderstorm Warning is issued, there will also be a breakdown of the damage threat that will help distinguish between high-impact and low-impact events.

The categories are baseline, considerable, and destructive - based on the size of hail and the forecasted wind speed.

If a “destructive” Severe Thunderstorm Warning is issued, this will activate a Wireless Emergency Alert on smartphones in the warned area.

Destructive storms would be those with baseball sized hail and - or 80 mile per hour winds possible.

The new alert would have activated for last August’s derecho.

That storm had estimated wind gusts of up to 140 mph in Cedar Rapids.

The National Weather Service says the derecho is ranked as the most costly thunderstorm in U.S. history.

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