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Wednesday, April 7, 2010 as of 11:14 AM ET

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FOX News Weather Blog
  • Traffic Light Storm warnings

    This story caught my eye –and wanted to know your thoughts.  The UK is coming up with a “traffic light” warning system to show people how bad a storm is…Britain has been slammed with one of the worst storms to hit the area this winter, and it’s certainly made the news here in The U.S. 

    So would you like us to do something similar?  Or are you pretty satisfied with what the National Weather Service/Weather Machine uses to warn people?


     Television weather forecasts are to adopt a colour-coded “traffic light” system to warn the public of extreme weather conditions.

    As Britain faces up to the biggest storm of the winter, the Met Office hopes the new red, amber, yellow and green warnings will make it easier for the public to understand the threats from approaching weather systems.

    Ferocious storms are expected to batter Britain later tonight, with winds of up to 80mph and coastal flooding.

    Forecasters have warned the public to stay indoors through the night and to avoid unnecessary journeys in the strongest storm of the winter. Winds powerful enough to uproot trees and damage buildings are expected to disrupt transport networks and power supplies.

    The Met Office has also warned that the heavy rain and gale-force winds will coincide with spring tides, increasing the risk of flooding on the west coast.

    The last of the old-style weather warnings have been issued for much of the UK for tonight and tomorrow.

    Officials will delay introducing the new traffic-light warning system until the gales have subsided, because of unease about making the switch in the midst of the severe weather.

    The new warning will be launched on Tuesday, but the first broadcasts to carry the traffic lights are expected towards the end of the week. A Met Office insider said: “We are going to delay switching for a couple of days.”

    The new colour codes will signify the threat posed by weather in different parts of the country.

    Red will indicate the highest risk of extreme weather events; amber, moderate risk; yellow, low risk; and green, very low risk.

    On television weather bulletins, amber and red alerts will be given instead of the single severe weather warning triangle currently used. On website weather maps, all four grades of warning will be used for different areas of the country.

    Emergency services and local authorities will also receive more detailed information to help them anticipate potential disruption from heavy rain, snow and gale-force winds.

    The new alerts come after a review of the National Severe Weather Warning Service following the flooding that hit much of the country during the summer, affecting about 40,000 homes and causing an estimated £3 billion of damage.

    Official reports on the floods praised forecasters for their early warnings but said there needed to be better communication of the risks to ensure emergency plans are put into action.

    Mary Dhonau, of the National Flood Forum, said warnings should be more site-specific, but added: “Clearer, earlier warnings will help people to take preparations for flooding.”

about this blog

  • Janice Dean joined FOX News Channel in January 2004 and currently serves as Senior meteorologist. She is a member of the American Meteorological Society and was awarded the AMS Seal of Approval in 2009. Dean is the author of the forthcoming children's book, "Freddy the Frogcaster" (Regnery Kids) which will be published in August. You can also follow Janice on Twitter.