This spring the National Weather Service (NWS) in Cleveland and some neighboring offices to our east will institute a change in severe weather warnings.
On April 1, the NWS will start to put out Impact Based Severe Weather Warnings, but use the same format that has been in place in recent years.
These impact based warnings are designed to convey more detailed information on the specific storm threats, such as hail size and the confidence of the forecaster in the probability of the storm risk,
Studies after the deadly Joplin, Missouri, tornado in May 22, 2011, revealed an inadequate response time in some instances by the public due to a misperception of the storm threat. The EF-5 tornado that killed 158 residents (162 total storm fatalities).
A subsequent debate about the communication process to underline urgency led to changes in the language of warnings issued, and risk assessment on a day in which life-threatening storms could develop.