What makes a thunderstorm severe?

What makes a thunderstorm severe?

Many times when the weather turns bad in East Texas, you may hear us use the term "severe thunderstorm."  Some of our viewers have wondered what's the difference between a regular thunderstorm and a severe thunderstorm.

The National Weather Service defines a severe thunderstorm as a storm that has one of the three following criteria:

  • a thunderstorm with wind gusts 58mph or greater
  • a thunderstorm that produces hail 3/4" in diameter or larger
  • a thunderstorm that produces a tornado

When a Doppler radar or a storm spotter indicates one of these three things in a thunderstorm, the National Weather Service issues a warning for the storm.  If the thunderstorm has wind gusts of 58mph or greater or large hail, a Severe Thunderstorm Warning is issued.  If radar or a spotter reports a tornado, a Tornado Warning is issued.  These warnings are only issued by the National Weather Service.  There are four different National Weather Service forecast offices that serve the KTRE Viewing Area: Shreveport, Houston, Lake Charles, and Dallas-Fort Worth.

As soon as the National Weather Service issues a warning for a county in the KTRE viewing area, you will automatically see that warning displayed when you are watching KTRE TV 9.  You can also receive warnings by e-mail when you sign up for KTRE's Weather 9 Personal Forecast.

For more information about severe weather and how it could effect East Texas, click to our Surviving the Storm section.