SMHI introduces impact-based weather warnings in Sweden

On October 26 SMHI introduces renewed weather warnings which are impact-based. The warnings will also be adapted to regional conditions and therefore more relevant and useful. The new warning system includes yellow warning, orange warning and red warning. Red warning is the most serious.

A large number of authorities within the Swedish hazard management are involved in the work with weather warnings and the broad collaboration between SMHI and others is an important basis for the renewed system.

“Our weather warnings are important for society's and individuals' crisis preparedness. Now the warnings become even more useful and relevant and collaboration between SMHI and regional actors is deepened. We are taking a big step in further contributing to a sustainable and safe society”, says Håkan Wirtén, Director General, SMHI.

Regional impact of the weather in focus

The renewed system will make it easier to understand what problems the weather might cause. Warning level is set based on the impact that the weather is expected to have in a certain area. Thresholds and risk factors are adapted to regional conditions.

“The purpose of the change is to increase the relevance and quality of the warnings so that everyone in society can prepare, for example for a snowfall. Better decision-making is important for the whole society”, says Fredrik Linde, head of SMHI's forecasting and warning service.

Warning information in English on

SMHI's warnings are published in English on Warning information is also communicated through SMHI's participation in Swedish Radio P1 and P4, as well as through other reporting in the media, for example in the TV channels' weather reporting. Warning information is also disseminated via other intermediaries, for example, county administrative boards and municipalities.

New names and symbols

In the renewed system, the warnings are given new names and new symbols. Class 1, 2 and 3 warnings cease. The weather warnings are instead called yellow warning, orange warning and red warning. Red warning is the most serious.

A yellow warning in the renewed system does not correspond to previous class 1. All warnings are impact-based, which means that individuals and societal actors need to prepare in other ways compared to the old system.

“We describe the warning level with text and symbols that have different colors and shapes, which will make it easier for people with visual variations, for example color blind. Yellow warning is a circle, orange warning a diamond and red warning a triangle”, says Josef Runbäck, product manager for meteorology, SMHI.

SMHI issues weather warnings when severe weather has the potential to bring impacts to society, therefore it is important to prepare even for a yellow warning. Note that yellow warning does not correspond to previous class 1, orange to class 2 and so on.