TribLIVE

| USWorld


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

Storm forecasters to add pair of threat levels

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.

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Nation

  1. Hungry Yosemite National Park bears tracked by GPS
  2. Panetta skipped CIA’s OK of book, potentially putting agency in delicate position with others
  3. Superstorm Sandy-hit areas in New York, New Jersey remain vulnerable
  4. Test confirms remains are missing Virginia student’s
  5. Teacher tried to stop Washington state shooting
  6. WWII pilot takes off in B-29 yet again
  7. Congress rankings detail its ‘poorest’ federal lawmakers
  8. Teacher tried to stop school shooting
  9. Officers swarm California counties as deputies killed in shooting rampage
  10. 3 Supreme Court justices offer Yale students an insider’s look at personalities
  11. Hawaiians on notice over lava flow
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.