Swift response by the public to weather warnings is essential for protection of life and property. National Weather Service warnings are designed to generate an appropriate public response to hazardous weather situations. The National Weather Service in Jackson will begin using an improved standardized warning format this winter. The purpose of the new format is to provide emergency management, the media and the general public with a more concise and easy to read warning that facilitates better response to life-threatening weather situations.

Background

Since warnings are critical to the protection of life, the content of warnings must reflect our increasing scientific ability to highlight more serious threats to life and property. This warning information will describe anticipated Hazards which will allow the public to respond appropriately to the spectrum of outcomes that thunderstorms produce.

This new format focuses on the hazards that are expected from severe thunderstorms. Depending on the strength of the weather phenomenon, damage can vary. Consequently, response to each severe weather event is not the same. To ensure the public responds appropriately to the most severe weather events, our pilot project highlights specifically the Hazards and ties them into the correct call-to-action. In addition, this project introduces attention-getting headlines when appropriate. We will utilize enhanced phrasing such as (PDS) Particularly Dangerous Situation! for the worst and most impactful tornadic and severe storm situations. When a large and destructive tornado is occurring, the PDS wording will be used in conjunction with the Tornado Emergency. During rare high end severe storm situations, PDS wording will be used when there is a risk of widespread 80 mph winds or greater or confirmed 2 inch or greater hail.

Warning Content

An example of the improved warning format is shown in the example below. Click on one of the highlighted areas for more information on the content that can be expected in that section of the warning.

Phenomenon/Location Section Hazard Section Call-to-action Section

 

Warning Examples

Here are some sample warnings using the new warning format:

 


 

Phenomenon/Location Section

This section provides the time the warning or statement was issued, what the warning or statement has been issued for, where the storm is located, and what direction/speed it is moving. Examples of how this section will look are given below:

Tornado Warnings:
* AT 210 PM CDT...A TORNADO WAS INDICATED JUST NORTH OF MAGEE...MOVING NORTHEAST AT 20 MPH.
  • This wording is used when the warning meteorologist has determined a tornado is likely based on the available radar data.
* AT 300 PM CDT...A CONFIRMED TORNADO WAS LOCATED JUST NORTH OF BRANDON...MOVING NORTHEAST AT 30 MPH.
  • This wording is used when a tornado has been confirmed, either by trained weather spotters or by radar. Confidence is high a tornado is on the ground at this point.
* AT 410 PM CDT...A CONFIRMED LARGE AND EXTREMELY DANGEROUS TORNADO WAS LOCATED NEAR YAZOO CITY...AND MOVING NORTHEAST AT 50 MPH.
  • This wording is used when a large and destructive tornado has been confirmed to be on the ground and doing damage. A Tornado Emergency will be issued to highlight the extreme danger to life and property. In the warning text, it will state "This is a Tornado Emergency for..." stating the locations for which the emergency is in effect, followed by "This is a Particularly Dangerous Situation!"
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Severe Thunderstorm Warnings:
* AT 327 PM CDT...A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WAS LOCATED NEAR BIRMINGHAM...AND MOVING NORTHEAST AT 40 MPH.
  • This wording is used when one storm is posing a damaging wind or hail risk.
* AT 427 PM CDT...A LINE OF SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS WAS LOCATED FROM YAZOO CITY TO SATARTIA...AND MOVING EAST AT 40 MPH
  • This wording is used when a line of storms are posing a damaging wind or hail risk.

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Hazard Section

This section will be used to clearly highlight the hazard associated with a particular warning. Examples include:

Tornado Warnings:
HAZARD...TORNADO
  • This wording is used when the warning meteorologist has determined a tornado is likely based on the available radar data.
HAZARD...DAMAGING TORNADO
  • This wording is used when a tornado has been confirmed, either by trained weather spotters or by radar, or when strong rotation on radar is increasing forecaster confidence that a tornado is on the ground.
THIS IS A PARTICULARLY DANGEROUS SITUATION!

HAZARD...VIOLENT TORNADO
  • This wording is used when a large and destructive tornado has been confirmed to be on the ground and doing damage. A Tornado Emergency will be issued when this wording is used to highlight the extreme danger to life and property. In the warning text, it will state "This is a Tornado Emergency for..." stating the locations for which the emergency is in effect, followed by "This is a Particularly Dangerous Situation!"
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Severe Thunderstorm Warnings:
HAZARD...GOLF BALL SIZE HAIL AND 60 MPH WIND GUSTS.

or

HAZARD...70 MPH WIND GUSTS AND QUARTER SIZE HAIL.
  • These are two wording examples that may be used to state the hazard(s) associated with storms not expected to produce a tornado. These are expected to be used more often than the examples below.
THIS IS A PARTICULARLY DANGEROUS SITUATION!

HAZARD...DESTRUCTIVE 80 MPH WIND GUSTS

or

HAZARD...DAMAGING BASEBALL SIZE HAIL AND 70 MPH WIND GUSTS

or

HAZARD...DESTRUCTIVE SOFTBALL SIZE HAIL AND 80 MPH WIND GUSTS
  • These three examples show the increased severity in terms of the hazards associated with particular storms. These highlight an enhanced risk to life and property, and are not expected to be used as often as the examples above. The (PDS) "Particularly Dangerous Situation!" phrase will be used for these rare situations.
HAZARD...DAMAGING BASEBALL SIZE HAIL AND 70 MPH WIND GUSTS
CONTINUOUS CLOUD TO GROUND LIGHTNING STRIKES
  • This wording may be used when the warning meteorologist believes the rate at which lightning is striking the ground poses a significant risk to life and property.

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Call-to-Action Section

This section will be used to convey actions that need to be carried out quickly in order to protect life. Examples include:

Tornado Warnings:
TO PROTECT YOUR LIFE...TAKE COVER NOW. MOVE TO A BASEMENT OR AN INTERIOR ROOM ON THE LOWEST FLOOR OF A STURDY BUILDING. IF IN A MOBILE HOME...A VEHICLE OR OUTDOORS...MOVE TO THE CLOSEST SUBSTANTIAL SHELTER.
  • This call to action statement will be used when a tornado warning is issued. The tornado may or may not be confirmed.
THIS IS AN EXTREMELY DANGEROUS AND LIFE THREATENING SITUATION! SEEK UNDERGROUND SHELTER! IF NO UNDERGROUND SHELTER IS AVAILABLE SEEK SHELTER IN AN INTERIOR ROOM OF THE LOWEST LEVEL OF A STURDY STRUCTURE. ABANDON MOBILE HOMES AND VEHICLES.
  • This call to action statement will be used when a Tornado Emergency / "This is a particularly dangerous situation!" (PDS) is issued for a confirmed tornado. (see above)
Severe Thunderstorm Warnings:
FOR YOUR PROTECTION MOVE TO AN INTERIOR ROOM ON THE LOWEST FLOOR OF A BUILDING AND STAY AWAY FROM WINDOWS.
  • This call to action statement will be used when hail less than 2" in diameter is expected, hail above 2" in size is possible but has not been confirmed, and/or winds of 60 to 70 mph are expected.
THIS IS A DANGEROUS STORM. PREPARE IMMEDIATELY FOR DAMAGE. MOVE TO AN INTERIOR ROOM ON THE LOWEST FLOOR OF A BUILDING AND STAY AWAY FROM WINDOWS.
  • This call to action statement will be used when isolated winds of 80 mph or greater are expected. Hail of any size may or may not be expected.
THIS IS AN EXTREMELY DANGEROUS SITUATION! SEEK SHELTER IN AN INTERIOR ROOM ON THE LOWEST FLOOR OF A STURDY BUILDING. IF IN A MOBILE HOME...A VEHICLE OR OUTDOORS... MOVE TO THE CLOSEST SUBSTANTIAL SHELTER. AVOID WINDOWS.
  • This call to action statement will be used when confirmed hail greater than 2" in diameter is impacting a populated area, and/or widespread winds greater than 80 mph are expected. "This is a particularly dangerous situation!" (PDS) wording will be used to highlight the enhanced risk to life and property.

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