National Weather Service to use new wording for warnings

ROMEOVILLE, Ill. (WLS) -- The National Weather Service is incorporating some new changes designed to keep area residents safe as severe storm season approaches.

The mission and methods of the service are evolving as they're trying to produce a less "wonky" product that you need to be a scientist to decipher.

National Weather Service meteorologists deployed the new wording for their weather warnings in Romeoville as part of a special conference call with first responders Wednesday afternoon.

For the first time, the weather service used a new term - "enhanced," to describe the threat of severe weather.

"Tomorrow is a day we start to say, it could be a big day, severe weather could impact a large part of our area," said Ricky Castro, National Weather Service.

Their new way to define the threat of severe weather includes using the word "marginal" to describe storms that are expected to be limited in coverage and duration - that's the green one.

In orange: Thursday's "enhanced" threat, meaning several tornadoes and some reports of wind and hail damage are possible.

It's all part of an effort to help non-scientists know what to expect.

"These were always things for weather weenies and emergency managers, and now we want the public to know in their daily lives," Castro said.

From flooding in the suburbs to tornadoes downstate, it seems almost every natural disaster includes bad situations made worse by a lack of preparation.

The American Red Cross reminds you to put together an emergency kit now with food, flashlights, copies of important papers and three days' worth of medication.

"Disaster can strike at any time in any place, so we really need to be prepared for whatever may happen," said Patricia Kemp, American Red Cross.

The American Red Cross offers a number of storm safety apps:

Severe weather safety tips:

Download Free Red Cross Mobile Safety Apps:

Get an Emergency Supply Kit:

And of course, you can get the latest weather alerts and current radar on the go with ABC7's Weather App.
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