WeatherWeather Blog


SPC Outlooks Refresher

Severe weather risk levels
Posted at 6:33 PM, Mar 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-28 19:40:16-04

Now that it’s springtime, that means we can expect an uptick in severe weather. While severe weather is possible at ANY time of the year (evidenced by our mid-December tornado outbreak last year), it is more common in spring and early summer.

In preparation for severe weather potential, I wanted to go over the severe weather outlooks you’ll see us use on air and online from the Storm Prediction Center. The SPC in Oklahoma monitors the severe weather potential days in advance. The use different risk levels to highlight specific areas that could experience severe storms.

So, let’s take a look at what these risk levels are and what they mean. At the lowest end is the “Marginal” risk, or a level 1 of 5. The “Marginal” risk means that isolated severe storms are possible. By the time we get to level 3 of 5, we hit the “Enhanced” risk. This means that numerous severe storms are possible. The highest level, or 5 of 5, is the “High” risk which means that widespread severe storms are expected.

SPC Categories.png

For example, let’s check out the current as of Monday afternoon (3/28) SPC outlook for our severe weather potential late Tuesday. As it stands, parts of southeastern Nebraska, southwestern Iowa, and northwestern Missouri are highlighted in yellow, which is the “Slight” risk. Most of the rest of eastern Nebraska and western Iowa are highlighted in green, or the “Marginal” risk. This shows the higher likelihood for severe weather is south of Omaha but can’t be completely ruled out in any part of the area.

SPC Risk Day 2.png

The SPC also breaks down the risks for hail, damaging wind gusts, and tornadoes in a similar manner. For Tuesday evening, we see that large hail and damaging winds will be the main threats for the area with these storms. The highlighted areas show the probability of large hail, damaging winds, or a tornado within 25 miles of any location within the area.

SPC 4 Panel Day 2.png

As a reminder, make sure you have multiple ways to receive severe weather alerts. Keep checking back in with the 3 News Now Weather Alert Team for the latest updates and forecasts.