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NWS REPORTING CRITERIA

HOW TO REPORT

Your severe weather report should be detailed but concise, and should address the following questions:
  1. WHAT did you see?
    • Report the location/approximate location of the event. Be sure to distinguish clearly between where you are and where the event is thought to be happening ("I am across the street west of the Bruceton water tower. The tornado looks to be about 5 miles to my northwest").
  2. WHERE did you see it?
    • Be sure that reports that are relayed through multiple sources carry the time of the event, NOT the report time.
  3. WHEN did you see it?
    • Any other details that are important - How long did it last? Direction of travel? Was there damage? etc.
NEVER report a Funnel Cloud as a TORNADO if you cannot observe the bottom part of the funnel cloud. If you cannot determine that the funnel cloud is touching the ground or visually see evidence that a debris cloud is present then it should be reported as a Funnel Cloud NOT a Tornado.

URGENT PRIORITY HIGH PRIORITY LOWER PRIORITY
Tornado Hail ¾-inch diameter or larger Hail ½-inch diameter or larger
Funnel Cloud Wind Speed ≥ 58 mph Wind speed ≥ 40 mph
Rotating Wall Cloud Persistent non-rotating wall cloud Cloud features suggesting storm organization
Flash Flooding Rainfall ≥ 1 inch/hour and each hour after that Total Rainfall ≥ 2"
Flooding of any type Ice accumulation of ⅛" or more Snowfall at or exceeding 2"

HAIL REPORTING CRITERIA

The size of hailstones is best determined by measuring their diameter with a ruler. In the absence of a ruler, hailstone size is often visually estimated by comparing its size to that of known objects, such as coins. Please Note: Using objects such as hen's eggs and marbles for comparing hailstone size is imprecise, due to their varied dimensions. Please use the chart below to define the hailstone size when reporting.

When calling in hail reports please notate if the size is an actual measurement or an estimated size. This is very important.
Pea Size≤ ¼-inch
SMALL Marble Size½-inch
Penny Size¾-inch
Nickel Size⅞-inch
Quarter Size1-inch
Half Dollar Size1¼-inch
Ping-Pong Size1½-inch
Golf Ball Size1¾-inch
Lime Sized2-inch
Tennis Ball Size2½-inch
Baseball Size2¾-inch
Large Apple Size3-inch
Softball Size4-inch
Grapefruit Size4½-inch
CD/DVD Size≥4¾-5 inch
*** Please DO NOT use the phrase "marble size" when describing hail because marbles come in different sizes. Note SMALL marble where the hail is smaller than a dime. ***

WIND REPORTING CRITERIA

WIND ADVISORY Sustained winds 31-39 mph (27-34 kts) for at least 1 hour; OR any gusts to 46-57 mph (40-49 kts)
HIGH WIND WARNING Sustained winds 40-73 mph (≥35 kts) for at least 1 hour; OR any gusts ≥ 58 mph (≥50 kts)
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING Thunderstorms with wind gusts ≥ 58 mph (50 kts) AND/OR hail ≥1" in diameter
TORNADO WARNING Likelihood of a tornado within the given area based on radar or actual sighting; usually accompanied by conditions indicated above for "Severe Thunderstorm Warning"

Beaufort Number Description Wind Speed Wave Height Sea Conditions Land Conditions
0 Calm < 1 km/h 0 meters Sea like a mirror Calm. Smoke rises vertically.
< 1 mph
< 1 knot 0 ft
< 0.3 m/s
1 Light Air 1-5 km/h 0-0.2 m Ripples with the appearance of scales are formed, but without foam crests Smoke drift indicates wind direction. Leaves and wind vanes are stationary.
1-3 mph
1-3 knots 0-1 ft
0.3-1½ m/s
2 Light Breeze 6-11 km/h 0.2-0.5 m Small wavelets, still short but more pronounced; crests have a glassy appearance and do not break Wind felt on exposed skin. Leaves rustle. Wind vanes begin to move.
4-7 mph
4-6 knots 1-2 ft
1.6-3.3 m/s
3 Gentle Breeze 12-19 km/h ½-1 m Large wavelets. Crests begin to break; scattered whitecaps Leaves and small twigs constantly moving, light flags extended.
8-12 mph
7-10 knots 2-3½ ft
3.4-5½ m/s
4 Moderate Breeze 20-28 km/h 1-2 m Small waves with breaking crests. Fairly frequent whitecaps. Dust and loose paper raised. Small branches begin to move.
13-18 mph
11-16 knots 3½-6 ft
5½-7.9 m/s
5 Fresh Breeze 29-38 km/h 2-3 m Moderate waves of some length. Many whitecaps. Small amounts of spray. Branches of a moderate size move. Small trees in leaf begin to sway.
19-24 mph
17-21 knots 6-9 ft
8-10.7 m/s
6 Strong Breeze 38-49 km/h 3-4 m Long waves begin to form. White foam crests are very frequent. Some airborne spray is present. Large branches in motion. Whistling heard in overhead wires. Umbrella use becomes difficult. Empty plastic bins tip over.
25-31 mph
22-27 knots 9-13 ft
10.8-13.8 m/s
7 High Wind,
Moderate Gale,
Near Gale
50-61 km/h 4-5½ m Sea heaps up. Some foam from breaking waves is blown into streaks along wind direction. Moderate amounts of airborne spray. Whole trees in motion. Effort needed to walk against the wind.
32-38 mph
28-33 knots 13-19 ft
13.9-17.1 m/s
8 Gale,
Fresh Gale
62-74 km/h 5½-7½ m Moderately high waves with breaking crests forming spindrift. Well-marked streaks of foam are blown along wind direction. Considerable airborne spray. Some twigs broken from trees. Cars veer on road. Progress on foot is seriously impeded.
39-46 mph
34-40 knots 18-25 ft
17.2-20.7 m/s
9 Strong/Severe Gale 75-88 km/h 7-10 m High waves whose crests sometimes roll over. Dense foam is blown along wind direction. Large amounts of airborne spray may begin to reduce visibility. Some branches break off trees, and some small trees blow over. Construction/temporary signs and barricades blow over.
47-54 mph
41-47 knots 23-32 ft
20.8-24.4 m/s
10 Storm
Whole Gale
89-102 km/h 9-12½ m Very high waves with overhanging crests. Large patches of foam from wave crests give the sea a white appearance. Considerable tumbling of waves with heavy impact. Large amounts of airborne spray reduce visibility. Trees are broken off or uprooted, structural damage likely.
55-63 mph
48-55 knots 29-41 ft
24½-28.4 m/s
11 Violent Storm 103-117 km/h 11½-16 m Exceptionally high waves. Very large patches of foam, driven before the wind, cover much of the sea surface. Very large amounts of airborne spray severely reduce visibility. Widespread vegetation and structural damage likely.
64-72 mph
56-63 knots 37-52 ft
28½-32.6 m/s
12 Hurricane Force ≥ 118 km/h ≥ 14 m Huge waves. Sea is completely white with foam and spray. Air is filled with driving spray, greatly reducing visibility. Severe widespread damage to vegetation and structures. Debris and unsecured objects are hurled about.
≥ 73 mph
≥ 64 knots ≥ 46 ft
≥ 32.7 m/s