What is a PDS Tornado Watch?

CINCINNATI - A PDS Tornado Watch is a watch issued when the National Weather Service deems the incoming storm literally a "particularly dangerous situation."

A PDS Tornado Watch are issued when the forecaster has high confidence that multiple strong (F2-F3 on the Fujita Scale) or violent tornadoes (F4-F5 on the Fujita Scale) will occur in the watch area, according to the Storm Prediction Center (SPC).

PDS Tornado Watches are rare; of 3,058 Tornado Watches issued during the period 1996-2005, only 7 percent (216) were PDS watches, according to the SPC. The greatest concentration of PDS Tornado Watches was in the lower Mississippi Valley, with a secondary maximum over the traditional “Tornado Alley” area of the Plains states. No area averaged more than 2.5 PDS Tornado Watches per year for the period. These kind of watches are even rarer in the Tri-State, with a maximum of just six being issued in any part of the Tri-State between 1996-2005.

The SPC says all tornadoes are potentially dangerous and most F2-F5 tornado events still occur in regular Tornado Watches. The lack of PDS wording in a watch should not be interpreted as downplaying the threat to life and property. However, the SPC says when the PDS wording is included the threat is to be considered as substantially higher.

Keep up with the latest  forecast at wcpo.com/forecast .

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