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8/13/2014 - sbluford
Storm Forecasters Adding Extra Layers To Warnings


Associated Press 8/12/2014

NORMAN, OKLA - The National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center said Monday it will add two threat levels to its weather outlooks so people aren't surprised by
really bad storms on days with just a "slight risk" of tornadoes, hail or
high winds.

Beginning Oct. 22, forecasters can say whether slight risk days are
"enhanced" or "marginal" or just plain "slight." Other categories remain,
including "high" and "moderate."

The Norman, Oklahoma based center traditionally targeted local
forecasters and broadcasters across the U.S. with their advisories, known as
"convective outlooks," but the Internet makes that data available to anyone
with a computer and basic scientific knowledge.

"We serve a very diverse group," said Greg Carbin, the center's warning
coordination meteorologist. "We have a hybrid audience of highly
sophisticated decision-makers," ranging from "expert users of weather
information" to "the head of the household in those parts of the country
that are often targeted by severe weather."

The Storm Prediction Center for years classified the risk as high,
moderate or slight, "and you can have killer storms in a slight risk,"
Carbin said.

The system now mimics scales for tornado damage, hurricane strength and
the former Homeland Security terrorist threat sale.
"It gets us to five categories. Now we have a scheme where we can rank
something 1-5," Carbin said.

A public comment period drew 700 responses, mostly from individuals,
government officials and the media.

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