New descriptors to Severe Weather Warnings starting in August


Starting August 2nd, the National Weather Service will start adding additional descriptors to the Severe weather warnings that area issued.

Currently, when a Severe Thunderstorm Warning is issued, the threats are listed in the description, but starting next month, the National Weather Service will either leave the descriptor as it is now, or if the storm(s) is/are stronger, they will use the added word “considerable” or “destructive” to the header.

Above is an example from the NWS of what it could look like when your wireless carrier sends you the alert.

DESTRUCTIVE: (the highest danger) Hail possible to 2.75″ (baseball sized), and/or winds to 80+mph. These type of events make up about 10% of all storms in the US according to the NWS. Also, these type of severe storms will activate the Wireless Emergency Alerts on your cell phone (like a tornado warning does).

COSIDERABLE: Hail possible to 1.75″ (golfball sized), and/or winds to 70+ mph. These types of storms will NOT trigger the Wireless Emergency Alert on your cell phone.

NORMAL SEVERE T-STORM WARNING: Hail at 1″ or greater, and/or winds at 58+mph. No descriptor, no Wireless Emergency Alert on your cell phone.


In short, nothing. The Storm Team 4 Meteorologists treat every storm as important, and always alert you based on what to expect from the storm. However, when you get alerts from your FREE Storm Team 4 weather app, you will continue to get the same detailed information on what to expect.

On air we will continue to closely describe the threats associated with each storm. Typically we do NOT get storms that would reach the “destructive” limits, at least not without a tornado warning being issued. An example of a non-tornadic event we would get this destructive alert for would be a derecho.

Interestingly, the NWS explains that last year 59% of our 22 costliest weather events last year were severe thunderstorms in the US, including the costliest thunderstorm event on record. The derecho that impacted Iowa last year cost nearly 11 billion dollars, and would get this destructive tag.

Download our free Storm Team 4 Weather App:


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