We’re forecasting thunderstorms in a whole, new way

We have had the power to predict severe thunderstorms using our Threatrack system for about a year now. We’re going one step further by introducing you to the new “Threatrack Level.”

Why are we changing? We feel that it isn’t good enough to just say “tomorrow we’ll have a chance of severe thunderstorms.” You need to know what the exact threats are and how you should plan for them. The Threatrack Level goes from 1 to 5 with five being the most extreme risk.

Threatrack is different from the Storm Prediction Center’s scale of slight, moderate, and high. It is also different from The Weather Channel’s TorCon system which just forecasts the chance of tornadoes.

Here’s how Threatrack will work:

We will only be showing the 1-5 scale within 24 hours of a severe weather event. In fact, there may be many thunderstorm days where Threatrack doesn’t even make it on the air. However, when our team of Meteorologists sees a potential for dangerous weather, it’s our time to bring it to your attention.

Here is how the scale works:

1. LOW RISK: General thunderstorms are forecast with a few that could turn severe with winds higher than 60mph or hail at least the size of nickels. More than likely we will not be under any sort of weather watch. Low risks would be issued an average of 40-50 times per year.

2. ELEVATED RISK: Thunderstorms may turn severe within the next 24 hours. This would be a situation where a few counties may see some warnings. Most Severe Thunderstorm Watches would fit into the elevated risk. Elevated risks would be issued an average of 15-25 times per year.

3. MODERATE RISK: Severe thunderstorms are quite likely and a few could produce isolated tornadoes. A high-end Severe Thunderstorm Watch and most Tornado Watches would fit into the moderate risk. Moderate risks would be issued an average of 5-15 times per year.

4. SIGNIFICANT RISK: This would be similar to the Storm Prediction Center putting us in their “high risk” category. This means there is a significant risk of damaging, dangerous storms. We would expect to have more than ten severe weather reports in our viewing area during a Threatrack-4. Significant risks would be issued an average of 1-2 times per year.

5. EXTREME RISK: A tornado outbreak would be in this category. Particularly dangerous and damaging weather should be expected. During a Threatrack-5, we would expect serious damage and possible injuries due to severe weather. Extreme risks would be issued an average of 1 time every two to three years.

As we head through the next few weeks and month, we encourage you to let us know if it works for you, how you’d change things for the better, and feedback after weather events. This is the only way we’ll be able to give you what you need. So, thank you in advance for the e-mails! -ES

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Posted under severe weather, weather geek

This post was written by qni_it on June 28, 2011

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