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. Texas, Oklahoma residents urged to flee flooding
  2. Harvey Girls recognized for role in history of West
  3. Michigan woman marks 116th birthday
  4. Clinton Foundation reports as much as $26.4M in previously undisclosed payments
  5. Veterans frustrated by GOP presidential debate on Iraq War
  6. Why FedEx truck slammed into bus in Calif. in fatal crash still unknown year later
  7. Senate foils phone spies in close vote
  8. Congress passes short-term fix for highways program
  9. Pipeline didn’t have shut-off valve
  10. Police kill suspect in fatal shootings of Missouri woman, son
  11. 6 Baltimore officers indicted in Gray’s death