National Weather Service explains the dynamics of today’s severe weather potential

Graphics are based on Tuesday’s National Weather Service severe weather projections.

The National Weather Service (NWS) at Buffalo has posted an important explanation of what severe weather percentages mean as they relate to potential for high winds, tornadoes, severe hail, and excessive rainfall.

The graphics, which were produced several hours ago, reflect how to interpret information for not only today but for future spring and summer storms.

Today’s graphical update, from the NWS Storm Prediction Center (SPC) are available at, with additional information and timing for specific locations in Allegany and each adjoining county, as provided by three different National Weather Service (NWS) forecast centers, available through our exclusive Weather Resources page links at or by using the link in the left column of this page.

Our updated news summary of information in regard to today’s series of weather events will be published shortly. Note that any NWS graphical presentations, as noted in the NWS analysis, should be extended out 25 miles from any point shown and that an enhanced level of severe weather currently is being shown just across the New York border in Ohio.
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From the NWS Buffalo forecast office:

Let’s talk numbers!

We’re in what’s called a “SLIGHT RISK” for severe weather over portions of Western NY, not including the Eastern Lake Ontario region, for Wednesday Apr 5, 2023.

The word “SLIGHT” is actually tied to probabilistic information. For (Wednesday), there is a 15-29% probability of damaging thunderstorm winds or wind gusts of 58 mph or higher within 25 miles of a point.

There’s a 5-9% probability of a tornado within 25 miles of a point. Hail is between the values of 5-29%, with the highest percentage over far Western NY, again, within 25 miles of a point. There’s even a marginal risk (5-14%) for excessive rainfall that may lead to flash flooding. Yep. Those values refer to within 25 miles of a point.

These numbers may seem relatively low at first glance.

But, think of it this way: Severe weather is uncommon at any one location. How often do you see storm damage at your home? For tornadoes, your chance of getting a tornado on any random day is very small, climatologically speaking. So, to put in that context, even a 5-9% chance of a tornado within 25 miles of a point means a much bigger threat than usual, and should be taken seriously.

Think of how often tornadoes normally happen close to you on any given day, and those small-looking probabilities start to seem large by comparison!

The vast majority of us will not experience severe weather in our backyard (today), In fact, roughly 20-40% of us may not even see thunderstorms. But it’s a big deal if severe weather hits home.

How will you get warnings if they are issued tomorrow? TV? Radio? App? Friend?

You should have multiple ways so you are ready to take action if you end up in a severe weather warning. You might not see any significant damage within 25 miles of you, but there’s a slight chance, based on the probabilities above, that you might.

Current forecasts have us leaning toward (this afternoon) for the highest severe weather potential, but there will be other periods of active weather during the day.
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Be Aware. Be Prepared. Stay Safe.TM