We've certainly had our fair share of severe weather recently with flooding in the region, washing out bridges, roads, and more. Wouldn't it be great if you knew when severe storms that typically cause damage in some way are coming so you could prepare? As of tomorrow, that will be the case according to the National Weather Service (NWS).

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In the case of any storm considered to be severe enough to be "destructive" in nature, a Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) will be sent out to residents' smartphones in the vicinity of such a storm system.

What makes a storm considered "destructive"?

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says the criteria for a destructive threat is "at least 2.75 inch diameter hail and/or 80 mph thunderstorm winds."

Below, you can see what the alert would look like if you get sent a WEA to your phone...

Credit: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Credit: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

This alert system is only going to be used for the type of dangerous storm systems mentioned above. Alerts on lesser storm systems will continue to be delivered through the Emergency Alert System on radio and television stations, weather.gov, and NOAA Weather Radio.

If you're starting to feel alarmed, it's good to know that according to the NWS, "on average, only 10 percent of all severe thunderstorms reach the destructive category each year, nationwide. Most of these storms are damaging wind events such as derechoes and some of the larger, more intense thunderstorms, called “Supercell” storms that can typically produce very large hail in their path."

Pushing out smartphone alerts on this new destructive thunderstorm category, lets us all know that urgent action is needed, a life-threatening event is occurring and may cause substantial damage to property.

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