What is a Severe Weather Outlook?

A few days out from a severe weather event, the team shows the Storm Prediction Center's Severe Weather Outlook

Youngstown, Ohio weather forecast thunderstorm lightning

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Storm Team 27 Meteorologists work to keep everyone up to date when it comes to severe weather. A few days out from a severe weather event, the team shows the Storm Prediction Center’s Severe Weather Outlook.

Not everyone understands what is meant by the type of risks that are involved in the Outlook. With thunderstorms expected for the weekend, Storm Team 27 wanted to take the time to explain what each risk means and the potential for severe weather in the coming days.

At this time, Ohio falls under “marginal risk,” which means thunderstorms are possible with winds up to 40-60 miles per hour. The tornado risk is low.

There are many elements that make a thunderstorm severe. While many calls come into the station about lightning, lightning is not an indicator of a severe storm. The only way a storm can become severe is if there are winds over 58 miles per hour, hail an inch in diameter, and/or a tornado is indicated.

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Warnings up to three days in advance can be issued for locations believed to be at risk for severe storm development. To make those maps, national forecasters take everything into consideration including the jet stream, moisture, instability, shear, and other atmospheric conditions. The maps are released every morning and revised throughout the day when new information becomes available.

There are five levels of risk in an Outlook forecast:

Thunderstorms (Mint): No severe weather is expected, though we could see frequent lightning and flood threats exist.

Marginal (Green): Isolated severe thunderstorms possible. Winds are 40-60 mph, hail up to an inch, and/or a low tornado risk

Slight (Yellow): Scattered severe storms possible. Chance of one or two tornadoes, strong damaging winds and hail around an inch.

Enhanced (Orange): Numerous severe storms possible. Chance of a few tornadoes, several reports of wind damage, and damaging hail between 1-2 inches

Moderate (Red): Widespread severe storms likely. Strong tornadoes, widespread damage, destructive hail over 2 inches in diameter

High (Purple): Widespread severe storms expected. Tornado outbreak or Derecho (a widespread, long-lived wind storm).

Storm Team 27 welcomes questions about the weather. All questions can be submitted through our Report It tab. Also look for our team of meteorologist to give up to the minute information on any impending weather event and will live stream weather events here on WKBN.com.

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