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The government`s Storm Prediction Center has issued an Enhanced Risk of severe thunderstorms. What does this mean?
The Storm Prediction Center (SPC) uses a five-point scale, ranging from "Marginal" to "High" Risk, and an Enhanced Risk is the middle option. As the name suggests, this means that there is an enhanced potential for dangerous weather compared to Slight Risk areas.
The severe risk categories are determined by the SPC based on the threat for tornadoes, winds in excess of 58 mph, or hail. The base-line threat that storms will occur is a "Slight Risk." If any one of the threat categories is predicted to have an improved chance of occurring in an area, the SPC will issue an Enhanced Risk. Thus, an Enhanced Risk means a widespread concentration of low-to-moderate intensity severe thunderstorms.
Threats to areas in an Enhanced Risk typically include:
The potential for tornadoes
Damaging winds in excess of 58 mph, and possibly in excess of 70 mph
Hail with a diameter in excess of 1 inch, with the increased potential for 2-inch or larger hailstones.
When an Enhanced Risk area is issued, it should be taken very seriously. Its presence means that government forecasters are confident enough that widespread storms will develop, and that these storms are capable of causing significant damage or even causing fatalities.
For anyone in an Enhanced Risk area, it would be wise to keep an eye on the sky during any activities, and be prepared to take shelter at a moment`s notice.
Story Image: WeatherBug User Ralph Carter took this image of a thunderstorm near Fort Myers, Fla.