National Weather Service coming out with new “destructive” alert


LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — It’s the season of severe weather in Michigan and on Aug. 2 the National Weather Service is coming out with a new mobile alert.

All severe weather certainly should be taken seriously, but not all storms are exactly the same. That’s why the National Weather Service is adding a new destructive category to their mobile alerts.

NWS said they’re making the change so people can better understand what kind of impact thunderstorms can have.

The criteria for the destructive category is winds of at least 80 miles per hour and-or baseball sized hail.

There are two other categories as well, considerable and base.

Nationwide, only about 10 percent of thunderstorms reach that destructive level each year.

If a storm reaches that destructive level, these alerts will let you know, wherever you may be.

“Wireless emergency alerts are targeted to you on your phone where your at with your phone,” said Jim Maczko, the warning coordination meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Grand Rapids. “So if you get one, that’s the confirmation you need to get to safety immediately and shouldn’t trigger you to go look out the window. It should mean go downstairs and get in your safe zone because that alert is targeted for you and that storm will be there within minutes if it’s not already there.”

When you reach that destructive level, you really can’t afford to not know.

“When you get to 80-miles-per-hour winds and destructive hails, like baseball size you’re talking about a property damage that’s pretty extensive and also a threat to life that’s immediate,” Maczko said. “Having this alert that would account for about 10 percent of all severe thunderstorm warnings across the country, just gives you an extra tool to make sure that you get to safety if there’s a life threatening severe thunderstorm coming your way.”

Of the 22 costliest weather disaster in 2020, 13 came from severe thunderstorms.

The NWS is hoping this new alert will have people ready if one of those storms rolls through.

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