Anna Answers: How are storms rated?

Weather Wisdom

Question: How are thunderstorms rated?

Storms can be rated by a few criteria. The main way it is rated is if it is strong enough to be severe warned. If it is it will be classified a severe thunderstorm.

A storm is rated on whether or not it is severe by three factors. It needs to have at least one or more of the following three criteria to be ranked as severe: hail one inch in diameter or greater, winds greater than or equal to 58 miles per hour, or a tornado (NOAA).

Even if it is not strong enough to be rated severe, it sometimes is still strong enough to have an alert with it. Those alerts are called “special weather statements”. A special weather statement might be issued if there are still significant winds, but they are below 58 miles per hour, or if there is large hail, but it is smaller than an inch in diameter.

Storms that aren’t severe warned or have a special weather statement are just normal thunderstorms.

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