Impact Based Severe Weather Warnings Coming to Oklahoma - - No One Gets You Closer

Impact Based Severe Weather Warnings Coming to Oklahoma


OKLAHOMA --  If you live in Oklahoma, you may notice a difference in the text of a severe weather warning issued for your area. An experiment with "Impact Based" weather warning is coming to the Norman and Tulsa National Weather Service offices.

The text in a National Weather Service severe weather warning has not changed substantially since the 1960s.  

In 2012 after the catastrophic Joplin tornado meteorologists have been trying to increase the response from the public when it comes to their warnings.

"The weather service is trying to improve our communication capabilities. When we issue a warning we want the warning to be treated seriously. We want the warning to be reacted on. And we are hopeful that this wording and this experiment will take us another step towards that goal," says Rick Smith, the Warning Coordinator Meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Norman.

The National Weather Service teamed up with social scientists to be more effective in their communication of severe weather.  

The new warnings are being called "Impact Based Warnings."

Basically the text in a weather warning is all that is changing.  The hazards associated with a storm and the impacts likely will be clearly stated when a warning is issued.

"People don't always respond. People don't understand the threat that these storms face or present to them and so what we did with the impact based warning system is to enhance the warnings with language that lays out in more detail the impacts that are expected from the storm," says Smith.

Bryan County Emergency Manager, James Dalton, says the new warnings are an important safety measure during severe weather.  

"I think the more specific they can be with the warnings, the better. If they said this is an immediate impact, this is an immediate threat, if you don't do this then you could have a bad situation or a bad outcome." 

The new impact based warnings will start in Oklahoma Tuesday, March 25th.  If all goes well the warnings will be implemented nation-wide in 2015.