Defining Severe Weather Outlooks

Science With Stevie

(WIVB)–Severe weather season is currently underway and it’s important to understand that strong to severe storms can occur at any time of any day if the ingredients are just right. So far this season, you have heard Meteorologists across WNY use the terms: Marginal, Slight, and Enhanced to describe the intensity of upcoming storms, but do you understand what those terms mean?

These are forecasts that are issued by the Storm Prediction Center and they are broken down into 5 categories and represented by different colors. We will go over each category in this week’s episode of Science with Stevie. 

Marginal Risk– is the lowest on the scale and is represented by a dark green color. This means that isolated severe thunderstorms are possible but will be limited in duration and/or intensity. Hail and damaging winds are something you need to look out for but the threat for tornadoes is low. Next,

Slight Risk– is represented by the color yellow and means scattered severe storms are possible. These storms could be intense for a short amount of time. There may be reports of wind and hail damage, along with the potential for 1 or 2 tornadoes. 

Now an Enhanced Risk represented in the color orange and is a level 3 out of 5. This means numerous severe thunderstorms are possible. In this case, we could receive several reports of wind damage, hail up to 2″ in diameter, and a few tornadoes.

The color red symbolizes a Moderate Risk for more widespread and longer-lived severe thunderstorms. This is a level 4 out of 5. These storms could produce large hail of 2″ or greater, widespread wind damage, and several strong tornadoes.

Finally, the 5th level-a High Risk. This level is rare but should be taken seriously. Extreme life-threatening severe thunderstorms are likely and could produce catastrophic wind and hail damage. In this category, there would be a threat for a tornado outbreak. This is why it is so important to understand the different categories and to stick with the 4 Warn Weather team on air and online so we can keep you, your family, and your friends safe.

Have a weather question? Email them here, tweet at @StevieDanielsWX or follow on Facebook to ask.

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