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New alerts for your phone later this month

Three categories of damage threat for severe thunderstorms
Published: Jul. 22, 2021 at 5:55 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 22, 2021 at 6:07 PM CDT
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QUAD CITIES, Iowa (KWQC) - The National Weather Service will be adding a “damage threat” tag to severe thunderstorm warnings at the end of the month. This will help show the severity and potential impacts of severe thunderstorms.

The National Weather Service announced that starting August 2 there will be three categories of damage threats for severe thunderstorm warnings. This will help distinguish between high-impact and low-impact events.

In order to be considered a severe thunderstorm, there has to be winds at 58 mph and...
In order to be considered a severe thunderstorm, there has to be winds at 58 mph and quarter-size hail.(KWQC)

When the severe thunderstorm has winds of 80 mph and/or hail at 2.75″ in diameter (the size of a baseball), it will have a “destructive” threat tag. This is when a Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) on smartphones will be activated within the warned area. This is similar to when you get a tornado or flash flood warning.

If this were in place a year ago, we would have gotten a Wireless Emergency Alert during the derecho. On average, only 10% of all severe thunderstorms reach the destructive category each year. This will let the public know that urgent action is needed and a life-threatening event is occurring and may cause substantial damage to property.

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