Monday, July 14, 2014

Severe Storms from Risk to Warning

Severe Weather Outlooks and Advisories

Storm Prediction Center Outlook Map
Convective Outlook from the SPC
The Storm Prediction Center had a larger area under a Slight Risk this morning (July 14, 2014). If your ever concerned about the severe weather then this is the place to start to get a general idea of the risk if any exists.
  • Individual 1,2, and 3 day outlook
  • Day 4-8 outlook
  • Gives threat type on the first day


Mesoscale Discussion

Mesoscale Discussion Page from the SPC
The Mesoscale Discussion is released for an area where severe weather conditions begin to develop. It may or may not be followed by a watch. Unlike the outlooks that are always issued days in advance, these discussions are issued as needed. The timeframe for the severe weather developing is usually only a few hours after the discussion is issued. They are not limited to summer severe storms and are often issued when during winter weather events. In this case they will focus on a smaller area of a large scale storm.


Severe Watches

Thunderstorm Watch from the SPC
When the conditions look favorable for severe weather then a watch is issued for a particular area. The watch will be issued about 12 to 24 hours before the event is forecast to occur and will remain in effect for the duration. You should expect severe weather in and around the watch area while it is in effect but it may not occur everywhere in the watch area. 

Warnings are Issued by the Local NWS Office

The Storm Prediction Center is located in Norman, OK and issues the outlooks, mesoscale discussions, and watches. Warnings are covered by the individual offices throughout the country. The Philadelphia National Weather Service Office is in the watch area and would put warnings out for the individual storms. A warning is issued when severe weather is happening and will last only during the length of the severe storm.

So are you at risk of severe weather?

  • Check the Storm Prediction Center Outlooks days in advance
    • This will give you an idea of the severe weather threat
  • If your in an area expected to get severe weather check for Mesoscale Discussions that day
    • These are scientific but you may get the idea of how big threat is
  • Keep an eye out for Weather Watches
    • Remember severe weather can happen in and around the watch area
  • If your local office issues a warning then take cover until the warning expires

It's Still the Weather

Severe storms can still happen when there was no risk indicated or watch issued. Often the outlooks are issued for large scale events, a single storm can become severe and not have a warning issued until the severe conditions are reported by a spotter. Always be aware of changing weather even it it looks like no threat exists.

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