NWS Charleston SC – Warning Operations

Welcome to the National Weather Service
in Charleston South Carolina Today we’re going to discuss one of our
most important responsibilities… issuing warnings for severe weather. The
primary responsibility of the National Weather Service is the protection of life and property.
This responsibility is accomplished by issuing warnings for
impending hazardous weather, and includes tornado warnings, severe
thunderstorm warnings, special marine warnings and flash flood
warnings. The National Weather Service in Charleston has warning responsibility for 20
counties across Southeast South Carolina and southeast Georgia; including adjacent
marine areas for the Atlantic coastal waters and the Charleston Harbor.
Each year on average the Charleston National
Weather Service office issues more than 20 tornado warnings, 200
severe thunderstorm warnings, 10 flash flood warnings, and 140 special marine warnings. We use our
network of doppler radars to help us interrogate storms. We’re looking for any storms that have
the potential of becoming severe, so with Doppler radar were actually able
to see if there’s potential there for damaging winds to be produced; if the
storms are capable of producing large hail; if there’s a lot of heavy rainfall
within the storm; and now with the new dual pole radar technology, we can even
see if there’s debris being picked up by tornadoes. once we’ve determined that the storm
poses a threat and that a warning is needed, we quickly begin the process of issuing
a warning. The first thing we do you is locate the storm, and we draw out from
there a polygon indicating the path of the
storm and locations that are potentially going to be affected as the
storm moves through. After that we need to determine the type of warning we are going to issue, whether it be a severe thunderstorm
warning, tornado warning, or a flash flood warning. In the warning itself we then want to
describe the basis for the warning; was the storm just detected on radar, or do
we actually have reports from the public law enforcement or
spotters that damage is actually occurring. After that
we want to describe the threats from the storm. We want to determine wind speeds that are expected, the potential hail size that the storm
could produce, or how much rain falls going to occur. So
to get these reports of severe weather this is where we rely really heavily on our partnerships with County
Communication Centers, Emergency Management, the general public,
as well as our own network of trained storm spotters. They
are our eyes and ears on the ground so they kinda see exactly what’s happening. So they can let us know if severe
weather is actually occurring. So after a warning is issued, the job is really
only half done at that point. Now we need to verify that the storm was
actually severe or that it produced severe weather. For a thunderstorm to be considered severe, it
needs to produce a tornado, wind gusts to 58 miles per
hour or stronger, or some type of wind damage like blowing
down trees are causing damage to structures,
that sort of thing or hail that’s one inch in diameter or
larger. We hope this gives you more information as to where warnings for
hazardous weather come from. To become a trained weather spotter or
to report severe weather visit our website at weather.gov/chs

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