QUINCY (WGEM) -- You may remember the WGEM Stormtrak Weather team talking about wind chill advisories or winter weather advisories having been issued. That will be a thing of the past in a couple of years.
The National Weather Service (NWS) announced last week that they plan to stop issuing advisory level alerts. They will continue to issue watches and warnings as they do currently. Meteorologists with the weather service say they are making this change due to social science studies showing that many people do not understand the term "advisory."
The advisories will be replaced with a plain language statement focusing on the impact of the event. For example, instead of saying "Winter Weather Advisory" they will now simply just say "2 - 4 inches of snow expected for the evening commute." The weather service plans to implement this change no sooner than 2024 due to changes needed internally.
Another big change that you will notice much earlier is how weather alerts are sent to your phone. Tornado warnings are sent to phones directly under a Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) system. Starting in late April or early May, the NWS announced that the worst severe thunderstorm warnings will also now be sent to mobile phones. This includes storms producing winds over 80 miles per hour or baseball size hail. Meteorologists say this change is to notify people more adequately in the face of damaging storms.
Severe thunderstorms can cause severe damage, even worse than tornadoes at times. One example of a storm system that would have had the cellphone alerts would be the Iowa Derecho, which last year became the costliest thunderstorm event in U.S. history.