TribLIVE

| USWorld

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Storm forecasters to add pair of threat levels

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Daily Photo Galleries

By The Associated Press
Monday, Aug. 11, 2014, 10:12 p.m.
 

The National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center said on Monday it will add two threat levels to its weather outlooks so people aren't surprised by bad storms on days with just a “slight risk” of tornadoes, hail or high wind.

Beginning Oct. 22, forecasters can say whether slight risk days are “enhanced” or “marginal” or just “slight.” Other categories remain, including “high” and “moderate.”

The Norman, Okla.-based center traditionally targeted local forecasters and broadcasters across the United States with their advisories, known as “convective outlooks,” but the Internet makes that data available to anyone with a computer and basic scientific knowledge.

“We serve a very diverse group,” said Greg Carbin, the center's warning coordination meteorologist. “We have a hybrid audience of highly sophisticated decision-makers,” ranging from “expert users of weather information” to “the head of the household in those parts of the country that are often targeted by severe weather.”

The Storm Prediction Center for years classified the risk as high, moderate or slight, “and you can have killer storms in a slight risk,” Carbin said.

The system mimics scales for tornado damage, hurricane strength and the former Homeland Security terrorist threat sale.

“It gets us to five categories. Now we have a scheme where we can rank something 1-5,” Carbin said.

A public comment period drew 700 responses, mostly from individuals, government officials and the media. About two-thirds said they used the outlooks at least once daily, and 87 percent of them said they liked the idea. Some, however, said extra colors made the map confusing.

Carbin said television broadcasters didn't like the term “slight risk,” fearing viewers often interpret that as “no risk.” He said they were free to develop terms.

“I don't care if you use ‘slight' or ‘a 2-out-of-5 chance,' as long as the general understanding of risk is conveyed,” he said.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Nation

  1. Financial exec gets 8 years for fraud
  2. Brothers awarded $750K each for wrongful imprisonment
  3. Judge clears way for revival of NSA wiretap suit
  4. U.S. Catholics at odds with church, survey finds
  5. World population of trees to people: 422 to 1, team finds
  6. Man slain by police said to have had knife
  7. 34th senator signs on to Iran nuclear deal, crumbling GOP’s hopes to override veto
  8. Clerk aims to block Ky. governor’s order
  9. Army fully opens Ranger School to female soldiers
  10. Sasquatch sighting! Maine police say Bigfoot artist nabbed
  11. Obama: Alaska proof of climate change dangers