By John Shumway

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The National Weather Service is planning to test a new way to explain the potential danger posed by tornados.

Improved technology now can convey the severity of a tornado.

“Significant or it is catastrophic and with improved polarization radar we’re going to be able to see is this tornado producing damage is there debris being picked up by the radar,” Fred McMullen, NWS Pittsburgh Warning Coordination Meteorologist, said.

A new form of warning is needed and being tested in Missouri and Kansas. The goal is to improve public response to life-threatening situations, specifically when a deadly tornado is detected.

The public will be told:

  • “Complete destruction of entire neighborhoods is likely.”
  • “Many well-built homes and businesses will be completely swept from their foundations.”
  • “Debris will block most roadways. Mass devastation is highly likely making the area unrecognizable to survivors.”
  • “Tornado may be unsurvivable if shelter is not sought below ground level.”

The NWS plans to test the new wording this spring in five NWS offices in the Mississippi Valley to see if it’s effective.

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