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Associated Press, Published March 15 2013

Weather service to enhance thunderstorm, tornado warnings

BISMARCK — The National Weather Service plans to beef up its weather warnings during this year's thunderstorm and tornado season in the central U.S.

Officials say the goal is to give the public a better idea of the potential impact of a storm. The effort is in response to studies of devastating storms in 2011, particularly a tornado in Joplin, Mo., That killed 161 people.

Meteorologist John Paul Martin tells The Bismarck Tribune that basic thunderstorm and tornado warnings will remain the same. But they also will include more specific information on a storm's intensity and potential damage. There will be two categories of potential damage — "considerable" and "catastrophic."

The effort will be launched in April and will continue through November.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.