NWS: Severe storms deemed 'destructive' will now trigger smartphone alert

Starting this week, your smartphone will now automatically get an emergency alert for the most severe thunderstorms with hail and high winds that could cause damage. 

The National Weather Service said severe thunderstorms deemed "destructive" will now trigger a Wireless Emergency Alert on cell phones. The criteria for a destructive damage threat is at least 2.75-inch diameter hail, 80 miles per hour winds or both. 

wireless emergency alert destructive storms

An example of the Wireless Emergency Alert with a "destructive" damage threat tag.  (FOX 9)

NWS said alerts will better convey the severity and potential impacts from thunderstorm winds and hail.

On average, only 10% of all severe thunderstorms reach the destructive category each year, according to NWS. 

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