Starting in April, the National Weather Service will start using new criteria when issuing Severe Thunderstorm Warnings
for the central portions of United States. The hail size required to designate a storm as severe will increase from penny-size (0.75-inch in diameter) to half-dollar-size (1-inch in diameter). The change will not be made for Texas or the Brazos Valley.NEW! Watch My Interview with Dan Reilly of the National Weather ServiceWatch Video from the National Weather Service
Research conducted by the National Weather Service has indicated that people are becoming desensitized by warnings because of their frequent issuance.
Since hail is so
common across the central U.S., people are simply becoming used to it -- similar to our adaptation to heat in the Brazos Valley.
Studies have also indicated that hail won't cause as much widespread damage until it reaches 1-inch diameter size.
The idea behind the change in criteria is to ensure that people take the warnings that are issued more seriously -- because after all, that's why the warn
ings are issued in the first place -- to warn
you of a storm that can result in loss of life and property.
Less warnings also mean less program interruption that will usually occur when they're issued.
While the change will not immediately affect the Brazos Valley, it is possible for us down the road. Meteorologist at the National Weather Service are asking the media and residents what they think, which brings me to the big question...What do you think? Do you take shelter when a warning is issued? Is the criteria too low?