NWS to test new warning for potentially deadly weather systems

KANSAS CITY, MO (KAIT) - Starting Monday, five National Weather Service offices in Missouri and Kansas will begin a test of a new kind of severe weather warning that's based on the severity of a storm's expected impact.

Currently, warnings for storms of different scales look similar. In the link below are two tornado warnings that were issued last May, the first on May 22 before an EF-5 tornado killed 161 people in Joplin, Mo., and the second May 25 as weak tornadoes headed toward downtown Kansas City and caused only minor damage.

Also included in the link is an example of the new style of warning, which would be issued in a potentially deadly tornado such as the one that hit Joplin.

Starting Monday, the warnings will include enhanced language designed to inform the public about the potential impact of an oncoming storm.

Next week's experiment will wheel out new phrases, including:


"Complete destruction of entire neighborhoods is likely."

"Mass devastation is highly likely, making the area unrecognizable to survivors."

"You could be killed if not underground."

Concerning, says Tom Miller of Kennett.

"It's a bit extreme."

In Dunklin County, they've seen their share of tornadoes.

But some have become desensitized after so many warnings.

Others believe this is merely a scare-tactic.

"Fear-mongering is a good term for it."

In this case of "boy who cried wolf," the only thing forecasters can do is put the information out there and hope the public responds accordingly.

"I don't think it needs to be that tough. I think people are going to know, they're going to take cover, and if there's a siren sounding, we know what's happening."

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