Almost 2 years ago, I wrote a piece about severe thunderstorm warnings, and how I thought that the public tends to disregard warnings because the warning criteria were too low. The low criteria caused too many warnings issued where the storms did no damage. People came to expect that storms wouldn't do anything serious, and then when a damaging storm did occur, no one expected any damage would happen. If you want to see the entire post, you will find it here:
Well, someone must have listened. It doesn't matter if they listened to me or to the others out there that have said the same thing, but someone must have listened. Here's an excerpt from an NWS Public Information Statement:
...SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING CRITERION FOR HAIL CHANGING...
TO: SUBSCRIBERS: NWS PARTNERS...USERS AND EMPLOYEES
SUBJECT: NATIONAL CHANGE IN MINIMUM HAIL SIZE CRITERION
FOR ISSUING SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING /SVR/
AND SEVERE WEATHER STATEMENT /SVS/ PRODUCTS
EFFECTIVE JANUARY 5 2010
EFFECTIVE TUESDAY JANUARY 5 2010 AT 0001 COORDINATED UNIVERSAL TIME
/UTC/...601 PM CST JANUARY 4 2010...ALL NWS WEATHER FORECAST OFFICES /WFOS/ WILL OPERATIONALLY CHANGE THE MINIMUM HAIL SIZE CRITERION USED TO ISSUE SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING /SVR/ AND SEVERE WEATHER STATEMENT /SVS/ PRODUCTS FROM 3/4 INCH /PENNY/ DIAMETER OR LARGER HAIL TO 1 INCH /QUARTER/ DIAMETER OR LARGER HAIL.
NO CHANGE IS BEING MADE TO THE SVR AND SVS PRODUCT WIND CRITERION OF WIND GUSTS EQUAL TO OR IN EXCESS OF 50 KNOTS /58 MPH/.
I will be watching things this spring to see how effective this change will be. Stay tuned for further details.