EXPLAINER: Changes at Storm Prediction Center

There may be snow on the ground right now, but severe weather season is knocking on our door. And this year, when it comes to predicting possible storms…you'll see some changes from the folks at the Storm Prediction Center.

This branch of the National Weather Service, based in Oklahoma, is responsible on a national scale for monitoring and advising when severe weather may be in the forecast. This is the starting point for local Weather Services and meteorologists like the FOX 9 Weather Team to drill down on where and when storms may hit.

These outlooks, until now, have had three categories: "Slight", "Moderate" and "High". Now, starting this year, the Prediction Center will add "Marginal" and "Enhanced" to their system, so the rankings will follow what you see in this graphic. Experts at the Center say they made the changes to give a better snapshot of storm possibilities, and based their change in part from "customer feedback".

But does that mean anything to you and me? FOX 9 Chief Meteorologist Ian Leonard says you bet it does.

"This is going to change the way you make your outdoor plans ahead of time…and change it for the better", Leonard said. "This will give you…and us…an even better idea on how storms could affect that baseball game, outdoor concert or trip to the lake. And it helps us to give you a hour-by-hour forecast that keeps you ahead of the storm.".


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