Severe Weather: Breaking down the severe thunderstorm risk categories

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We’re in the heart of summer here in Southern New England and that means increased chances for thunderstorms, some of which can end up turning severe.

Sometimes you’ll hear your local meteorologists refer to our area as being in an “Marginal” risk or a “Slight” risk.

So, what exactly are we talking about?

The Storm Prediction Center has a guideline to classify threats for severe weather. As seen above, there are six categories. Typically, here in southern New England, we often see “Marginal” and “Slight” risks. Occasionally, we will be placed in “Enhanced” risk. The higher threats tend to occur over the Southern states, Midwest, and the Plains.

One example is the image above dating back to February 2016. This would indicate the highest threat for severe weather is over parts of southern Virginia and north central North Carolina. As you expand outward from the bullseye, the threat would lower a bit but still remain quite high in the mid-Atlantic region. In this particular setup, there was a “Marginal” risk for severe weather here in Southern New England.

Another example from May 2017 features all six categories on this map. The bullseye (pink) represents a “High” threat for severe weather which was across parts of Kansas and Oklahoma for this given weather setup. The threat lowers as you expand outward but still remained on the higher side for most of these states.

As we move through the rest of summer, you may see some of these maps locally here for our area. Keep it tuned to Eyewitness News when severe weather strikes as the Pinpoint Weather Team will always have the latest forecast.

Feel free to check out our Severe Weather section on our website for storm reports and updated severe weather forecasts.

Also, download the Pinpoint Weather App to your smartphone or tablet to get all of the latest watches, warnings, and alerts.

Be sure to connect with Eyewitness News Meteorologist Steven Matregrano on TwitterInstagram, & Facebook.

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