Size Matters? Hail Yeah.

National Weather Service

National Weather Service

With get-to-the-basement season approaching , The National Weather Service is changing its criteria for the size of hail that must fall on us before it issues a Severe Thunderstorm Warning.

In the past, a warning was issued for 3/4-inch diameter hail. Now the hail has to be 1-inch in diameter before your TV starts beeping.

The government will hire consultants in hardhats to stand in your lawn and measure the hail. OK, I’m making that part up.

You can watch a government video explaining the change here. It sort of reminded me of those health films we watched in junior high. Although I did not throw a single spitball. Honest.

But if you really don’t feel like taking a 5-minute trip down memory lane, it’s pretty simple.

The NWS points to scientific research showing that property damage from hail isn’t really significant until you cross the 1-inch threshold.

They’ve also heard from media outlets and local emergency managers who are concerned that  too many warnings are issued and that the public is becoming desensitized. They want credible warnings issued only for strong storms that pose a real threat.

The weather service tested the new criteria in Kansas for the last four years. It worked like a charm. A very dented charm.

So the NWS will  now issue severe thunderstorm warnings for storms producing 1-inch hail and/or winds exceeding 58 mph.

Bottom line – my weather radio probably won’t go off in the middle of the night as often, meaning fewer 2 a.m. freak-outs by skittish small children wailing of twisters. Very good news.


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