LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Last week, strong storms steamrolled across mid-Michigan — triggering severe weather alerts on phones through the Emergency Alert System.
6 New meteorologist Katie Nickolaou explains why your phone may have gone off even though you weren’t in a tornado.
Back on Aug. 24, we saw a line of severe storms move through mid-Michigan, and it resulted in tornado warnings being issued as well as many severe thunderstorm warnings.
Did you know there are actually different types of severe thunderstorm warnings?
Back in 2021, the National Weather Service implemented a tiers system, and the first one is the base tier. That starts out with any storm that reaches severe criteria: wind speeds of 58 mph, one inch hail, or both.
Then we move it up a level. That’s when you get considerable severe storms, with wind speeds of 70 mph and around golf ball sized hail.
Then we have one final category and that’s known as destructive.
That’s for any severe thunderstorm that can produce 80 mph winds or faster, or hail that’s around 2.75 inches large, just like a baseball, or larger.
You can have any combination of these. One, the other, both, any of those will trigger that tier of a severe thunderstorm warning.
Plus, there’s something special about the destructive one. That will actually trigger an emergency alert on your phone.
We typically see those with tornadoes, but when you get wind speeds of 80 mph or more and baseballs being thrown at that 80 mph speed, that can be just as destructive as a tornado.
That’s when your phone will go off, and you’ll know you need to seek shelter.