Impact-based warning system to provide specifics about severe weather

Apr 1, 2013

Starting Monday, you’ll notice new wording in warnings issued by the National Weather Service.

Nebraska recorded its first-ever February tornado last year.
Credit NWS North Platte

The Central Region, which includes Omaha, is participating in what’s called an Impact Based Warning experimental system. NWS Omaha Warning Coordination Meteorologist Brian Smith says the goal is to provide more specific information to people in the warned area about what to expect, so proper safety precautions can be taken.

"Those have enhanced wording in those warnings that will tell people basically what is expected to happen with this type of event, like if there’s a bad wind storm, it’ll give examples of what could happen with that wind storm."

The impact-based system specifically indicates if a tornado is radar-indicated or confirmed. It also assigns damage threat tags to tornadic storms of considerable or catastrophic. A catastrophic storm is one that poses “a severe threat to human life and catastrophic damage.” That tag would only be used when a violent tornado is confirmed.

More information is available at