ST. LOUIS – The National Weather Service in St. Louis is issuing a strong warning for the region for severe weather and it has been expanded further south across a large portion of the area.

The area is under a TORCON level of 7, which is a Tornado Conditions Index by The Weather Channel. A 7 would be a 70 percent chance of tornado activity within 50 miles of any location in an indicated area.

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TORCON stands for Tornado Condition Index. On a scale of 0 to 10, a specific region is given a number, with higher numbers indicating a higher risk of a tornado within 50 miles of the given location.

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The TORCON levels were created by retired meteorologist Dr. Greg Forbes. It has been a long period of time since the area has had that predicted level. During the Edwardsville Amazon Warehouse tornado, the region was only under an enhanced risk. The Edwardsville Tornado was an EF-3. These storms could come very fast at a projected 60-70 mph winds and residents will only have a few minutes to take cover.

Matt Beitscher of the National Weather Service said at 8 a.m. Friday morning that the threat to the St. Louis region this afternoon is real, and that people should prepare to take proper precautions.

“It looks like the real threat right now starts to tick up at 2-4 p.m.,” Beitscher said. “All modes show possible tornado type of conditions and possibly large hail up to golf-ball size, and damaging winds. We could have some strong winds or possible tornadoes.”

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