Flashing Chartreuse, Tornado on the Loose? What Warning Should We Add to the Old Hancock Building?

The Back Bay skyline with the Hancock Building weather beacon on the left.
The Back Bay skyline with the Hancock Building weather beacon on the left.
Tom Herde/ Boston Globe

Most Bostonians have probably heard the rules about the city’s iconic weather beacon and its color-coded warnings. Is it time to revise those warnings?

“Steady blue, clear view

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Flashing blue, clouds due

Steady red, rain ahead

Flashing red, snow instead.”

(Flashing red in summer could also mean a Red Sox game is canceled due to weather.)

Given Monday’s tornado in Revere, is it time to revise the poem? Maybe a tornado warning calls for flashing purple, or perhaps a less subtle strobe light and siren, just to be safe.

Flashing Chartreuse, Tornado on the Loose?

Blinking Brown, Get the Heck out of Town?

Orange Light, Funnel Cloud in Sight?

The Berkeley Building is Boston’s former John Hancock Tower. Its beacon denotes weather forecasts slated by a meteorological company on the 26th floor, and can be seen for miles across the city. Displaying the colors became a daily ritual in 1950, and the beacon has only ever flashed one other pattern: red and blue in 2004 when the Red Sox won the World Series for the first time in 86 years.

So maybe after 64 years of the same weather colors, it’s time to make a revision. What do you think the Berkeley Building should display if there’s another tornado?

Offer your suggestions in the comments below.