The severe weather outlook consists of five different colors that categorize the risk of damaging thunderstorms from the Storm Prediction Center.
A severe thunderstorm produces winds that exceed 58 mph, hail at least an inch in diameter. Each severe thunderstorm comes with a risk of lightning. Severe thunderstorms may produce a tornado and if there is enough rainfall flash flooding may occur.
The categories of the outlook are based on the probability of tornadoes, damaging wind, and large hail. The Storm Prediction Center will then highlight which areas will see the most severe weather using the risk categories.
Green is a marginal risk. The area highlighted in this color may see a few warnings. The storms likely won’t last too long and there will be limited damage. Most of the region will not see a severe thunderstorm.
Yellow is a slight risk. The coverage of severe thunderstorms increases a little bit. Scattered severe storms are possible. Most will be short-lived storms. The damage will not be widespread. An isolated storm may be more intense.
Orange is an enhanced risk. Meteorologists are expecting numerous severe thunderstorms. This may be a longer event with multiple intense storms in the area. Widespread damage is possible. Memorial Day 2019 was an enhanced risk.
Red is a moderate risk. Meteorologists are confident there will be widespread damage from several severe thunderstorms. Many will be long-lived producing damage across a wide area.
Pink is a high risk. This is a rare event that will produce widespread damage and long-lived destructive storms. Several storms in the area will be particularly intense.
Tornadoes are possible across every category, but the number of tornadoes in the given area increases with each color. Confidence in tornado formation also increases with each category.