New wording used in severe weather warnings starting today

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FARMERSBURG, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) – Tornadoes, large hailstorms, derechos, cloud-to-ground lightning, and flash flooding are all examples of hazardous weather conditions, but a new alert could help save lives and allow people to stay weather aware.

Starting August 2, the National Weather Service is going to add a “damage threat” to Severe Thunderstorm Warnings so people are better weather aware and can prepare based on the severity of the storm.

These new categories will be called “destructive and considerable”.

According to the NWS, criteria for a destructive damage threat is at least baseball-sized hail (2.75-inch diameter) and/or 80mph winds. ONLY warnings with a destructive tag will automatically activate a wireless emergency alert on smartphones for warned areas.

Criteria for a considerable damage threat is at least golf ball-sized (1.75-inch diameter) hail and/or 70mph winds.

Base Severe Thunderstorm Warnings remain unchanged. The criteria for those is quarter-sized (1.00-inch diameter) hail and/or 58mph winds. On average, only about 10 percent of severe thunderstorms reach the destructive category each year across the United States.

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