SEE OUR TORNADO SAFETY TIPS BELOW
Chances are increasing for a few tornadoes and supercells associated with severe thunderstorms over the Hudson Valley late this afternoon into the evening, according to lead forecasters with the National Weather Service (NWS).
Some thunderstorms already produced significant rotation over western Morris County, New Jersey this morning. “We will have to watch for supercells along the warm front with potential for severe and/or isolated tornado threat as this activity works northeast,” wrote the NWS Upton, NY office in a technical discussion. However, this is only the first batch which is expected to be much more tame.
Scattered, non-severe thunderstorms have already begun over the area this morning as a warm front moves through. This is the calm before the storm.
This afternoon, a pre-frontal trough will approach as wind shear aloft will increase. This will create the threat for rotating thunderstorms which could produce tornadoes. A weak cold front will pass late tonight, bringing the threat to an end.
The Storm Prediction Center (SPC) in Oklahoma, a branch of the NWS which tracks major storm outbreaks, is keeping a close eye on the situation.
“A few tornadoes also may occur, especially over … the eastern New York and western New England region,” stated SPC Lead Forecaster Roger Edwards and SPC Mesoscale Forecaster Matt Mosier in a separate technical discussion.
Aside from tornadoes, the primary threats with these storms are damaging to severe wind gusts and torrential downpours. Hail is not likely, according to SPC forecasters.
Flood Advisories have already been posted in parts of the New York City metro area as non-severe thunderstorms continue producing heavy rain. The first batch of rain showers and non-severe storms have been moving northeast throughout the morning.
UNDERSTANDING ANY ALERTS THAT MAY BE ISSUED:
- Tornado Watch: Tornadoes are possible in and near the watch area. Review and discuss your emergency plans and check supplies and your safe room. Be ready to act quickly if a warning is issued or you suspect a tornado is approaching. Tornado Watches are issued by the SPC in Oklahoma.
- Severe Thunderstorm Watch: Severe thunderstorms containing winds of at least 58 mph and/or 1″ hail are favorable for development. Be prepared to move to a place of safety if threatening weather approaches. Severe Thunderstorm Watches are issued by the SPC in Oklahoma.
- Tornado Warning: A tornado has been sighted by a trained spotter or indicated by weather radar. There is imminent danger to life and property. Tornado Warnings are issued by the local NWS office.
- Severe Thunderstorm Warning: A severe thunderstorm containing winds of at least 58 mph and/or 1″ hail has been observed by a trained spotter or indicated by weather radar. Lightning frequency is not a criteria. Those in the affected area should seek safe shelter immediately. Severe Thunderstorm Warnings are issued by the local NWS office.
KNOW THE SIGNS OF A TORNADO:
- Strong, persistent rotation in the cloud base
- Whirling dust or debris on the ground under a cloud base
- Hail or heavy rain followed by either dead calm or a fast, intense wind shift.
- Many tornadoes are wrapped in heavy precipitation and cannot be seen.
- Loud, continuous roar or rumble, which doesn’t fade in a few seconds like thunder.
WHAT TO DO DURING A TORNADO:
- In a house with a basement: Avoid windows. Get in the basement and under some kind of sturdy protection (heavy table or work bench), or cover yourself with a mattress or sleeping bag. Know where very heavy objects rest on the floor above (pianos, refrigerators, waterbeds, etc.) and do not go under them. They may fall down through a weakened floor and crush you. Head protection, such as a helmet, can also boost survivability.
- In a house with no basement (apartment or dorm): Avoid windows. Go to the lowest floor, small center room (like a bathroom or closet), under a stairwell, or into an interior hallway with no windows. Crouch as low as possible to the floor, facing down. Cover your head with your hands. If you have a metal bathtub, that may offer a shell of partial protection, but not plastic or fiberglass ones, which are easily penetrated by projectiles. Even in an interior room, cover yourself with some sort of thick padding (mattress, blankets, etc.), to protect against falling debris from the roof or ceiling. A helmet can offer some protection against head injury.
- In a mobile or manufactured home: Get out beforehand. Even if your home is tied down, it is not as safe as an underground shelter or permanent, sturdy building. Go to a nearby permanent structure. Most tornadoes can destroy even tied-down mobile homes.
- In an office building, hospital, or nursing home: Go directly to an enclosed, windowless area in the center of the building. Stay on the lowest floor possible and remain away from glass. Then, crouch down and cover your head. Interior stairwells are usually good places to take shelter, and if not crowded, allow you to get to a lower level quickly. Stay off the elevators; you could be trapped in them if the power is lost.
- In a shopping mall or large store: Move as quickly as possible to an interior bathroom, storage room or other small enclosed area, away from windows.
- In a car or truck: Vehicles are extremely risky in a tornado. There is no safe option when caught in a tornado in a car, just slightly less-dangerous ones. If the tornado is visible, far away, and the traffic is light, you may be able to drive out of its path by moving at right angles to the tornado. Seek shelter in a sturdy building, or underground if possible. If you are caught by extreme winds or flying debris, park the car quickly and stay out of the traffic lanes. Stay in the car with the seat belt on. Put your head down below the windows; cover your head with your hands and a blanket, coat, or other cushion if possible. If you can safely get noticeably lower than the level of the roadway, leave your car and lie in that area, covering your head with your hands. Avoid seeking shelter under bridges, which can create deadly traffic hazards while offering little protection against flying debris.
- In the open outdoors: If you cannot seek shelter inside a sturdy building and are stuck outdoors, lie flat and face-down on low ground, protecting the back of your head with your arms. Get as far away from trees and cars as you can; they may be blown onto you in a tornado.
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