What Does TORCON Mean? Southeast U.S. On Tornado Watch

Severe storm conditions were hovering over the Southeast region of the United States Monday, bringing the threat of tornadoes, strong winds, hail and heavy rain.

The Weather Channel released an updated prediction for the weather and tweeted Monday afternoon that the "TORCON" level for northern Alabama was up to 7. This simply means there was a 70 percent chance of a tornado developing within the area where the warning was set.

The TORCON is up to 7 for north Alabama, which means there is a 70% chance of a tornado within 50 miles of any location in the indicated area. Potentially damaging straight-line winds and hail are also possible through the afternoon and evening. #severe #ALwx pic.twitter.com/KMbjrATcrw

— The Weather Channel (@weatherchannel) March 19, 2018

TORCON isn't an official weather term that the National Weather Service (NWS) or National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration use. The term was developed by a Weather Channel weather expert Greg Forbes. He came up with an index that helped estimate the risk of tornadoes in a particular area.

The numbers simply represent a scale of risks numbered one to 10, with the higher numbers indicating a higher risk and the lower numbers covering the lower risk. Each number represents a percentage risk that a tornado will form within 50 miles of the area the warning is set for by the Weather Channel.

On Monday, the area in Alabama was given a 7 on the TORCON scale, meaning there was a 70 percent chance of a tornado developing within 50 miles of the area.

The NWS, on the other hand, issues tornado watches and warnings. A warning is less severe and is issued when there is the possibility of a tornado developing in or near the area the watch is set for, according to the NWS. A warning means that a tornado was spotted either in person or on the weather radar, and the risk is imminent.

On Monday, the federal government's Storm Prediction Center said that strong winds, hail and tornadoes were expected, with the severe thunderstorms hitting the Tennessee Valley and the Southeast throughout the day and evening.