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National Weather Service adds destructive storms to wireless alerts

The NWS will start alerting people to severe thunderstorms that are in the "destructive" category on August 2.

Bradford County and other parts of our area have seen a high number of storms this year. Some of those storms have damaged houses, trees, and roadways. But not all storms are the same, and the National Weather Service wants to make sure people are prepared for the most severe thunderstorms.

Starting August 2, wireless emergency alerts will be sent to cell phones for thunderstorms considered "destructive."

"Thresholds are 80 miles per hour for damaging winds and 2.75 inches for hail. So these are going to be your most destructive, severe thunderstorms," said Mitchell Gaines, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Binghamton.

Gaines says, on average, only 10 percent of all severe thunderstorms nationwide reach the destructive category each year. The wireless alerts will not be used often, and if you get one, you will know it is potentially life-threatening.

"When the worst of the weather is coming, the extra phone alert gives people an extra few minutes to take cover and make sure everything is in place," Gaines said.

"I would appreciate it," said Mary Sue Jones from Watsontown. "People can be prepared. Their animals may not like storms and get afraid. If they have a little bit of a warning, at least they can prepare their animals or if they have something outside that might blow away."

CLICK HERE to learn more about how the National Weather Service's Wireless Emergency Alert System works.

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