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New 'destructive' storm warnings will warn you about incoming weather

Tornado, hurricane and flash flood warnings all issue alerts when weather poses a high risk of danger. Now a new warning will be sent to your phone.

NEW ORLEANS — A new weather alert is coming to your phone and there are things you should know about it. 

The National Weather Service will begin issuing alerts for "Destructive" thunderstorms, so what does that mean?

"So this is new," said Benjamin Schott, the Meteorologist in Charge at the Slidell National Weather Service. "This is something people haven't seen before and it's supposed to be an attention getter because these things can put your life and property at risk."

Starting Aug. 2, a message with an alarm will appear on your cell phone if a severe thunderstorm showing certain characteristics is detected in the area.

"What this does is, if we see winds of 80 miles per hour and/or hail baseball size or larger, that'll do an amazing amount of destruction to property or loss of life, so we want to make sure people are notified of these very destructive storms," Schott said.

There are also now three categories of severe thunderstorms:

  • Baseline - when the storm has quarter-sized hail and/or 58 mph winds.
  • Considerable- when golf ball-sized hail is produced and/or has 70 mph winds.
  • Destructive- (which you'll be notified about) when a storm with baseball-sized hail and/or 80 mph winds is headed your way.

"When you start to see storms this strong, a lot of times they're blown off because it's not a tornado," Schott said. "This is something that could put you at risk your family at risk."

There's hope this new system will be beneficial, but there's also some hesitancy with it.

"To me, it certainly is addressing the danger of Severe Thunderstorms, however, I think that three sub-levels now is more confusing to the public," said Chief Meteorologist, Chris Franklin. 

He fears, only storms classified as "destructive" will be taken seriously, when in fact, they all should.

"If a warning is issued for a thunderstorm, regardless of classification, it means it's potentially dangerous and potentially deadly," he said.

So, the next time the weather changes, alert or not, it's best to pay attention and be prepared for whatever may be coming your way.