Severe Storms in Other Countries

Living in Oklahoma, we’re all used to hearing the phrase SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING. For The United States, at least one of the following must be met: Hail the size of quarters or larger, winds of 58 mph or greater and/or a tornado. If you did not know, the National Weather Service recently increased the size of hail necessary to be severe. It used to be nickles, now it’s quarters. But, what if you were in a foreign country, would you know what is going on if you heard a SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING issued? Most likely…NO! The reason? Because different countries have different definitions. Here are a few:

Did the list above surprise you any? It did for me! Especially since all of the countries listed had one thing extra that here in The United States, we don’t have, and that is.. rainfall!(Though we do have EXCESSIVE RAINFALL WARNINGS/FLOOD WARNINGS, ETC) In New Zealand,Germany and Mexico, they actually include a certain amount of rain necessary in 1 hour for a storm to be deemed severe. In America, we don’t have rainfall listed as criteria for a severe storm. I wrote the word “BLOG” for Australia because it was too long for the graphic above, but Australia has their wording for rainfall listed as “CONDUCIVE FOR FLASH FLOODING”. Also, the fact that New Zealand says you have to have a F1 tornado to be considered severe. Knowing how strong a tornado will be before it develops is really difficult in my eyes if you ask me.

Also, take a look at the winds necessary for a severe storm. In America, we need 58 mph compared to Germany’s 65 mph.

So, which country surprised me the most with their wording? I would have to say Germany. I think of Germany as having a fairly wet climate, and with the location being of what it is ( mostly north of latitudes of the United States- Canadian border). I guess I could have expected to see winds a little less than 65 mph for the storm to be severe. Either or, it’s just my personal opinion. What do you think about countries and how the deem a storm being labeled severe? Do you think America’s criteria for severe storms are too weak or just perfect?



2 Responses

  1. A question of whether a storm should be severe is an indicator of the level of damage that might be anticipated from it. With different building codes, different lifestyles, and different economic levels in other countries, I would anticipate they’d look at “severe” with a different eye.

    Mexico surprised me with pea sized hail. The others…not so much. But I’ve thought for some time that the wind requirements for the US should be a little higher. 65 would probably be about right. And since flooding conditions aren’t necessarily predicated on what’s falling on-site, but also on what’s upstream, upriver, or up slope, and on what the stream/river/lake levels are at the time of the precip, I think we probably need to continue flood and flash flood warnings and watches as separate entities. The hydrology folks know what they’re doing.

  2. I think its perfect for us. We need more warnings. We need more excitement.

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