The National Weather Service has issued a tornado watch in effect until 7 pm EST for the following counties in Maryland:
- Anne Arundel
- Prince George’s Queen Anne’s
- St. Mary’s
- and Baltimore City.
This is issued by the National Weather Service when conditions are favorable for the development of tornadoes in and close to the watch area. Their size can vary depending on the weather situation. They are usually issued for a duration of 4 to 8 hours. They normally are issued well in advance of the actual occurrence of severe weather. During the watch, people should review tornado safety rules and be prepared to move to a place of safety if threatening weather approaches.
A Tornado Watch is issued by the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) in Norman, Oklahoma. Prior to the issuance of a Tornado Watch, SPC will usually contact the affected local National Weather Forecast Office (NWFO) and they will discuss what their current thinking is on the weather situation. Afterward, SPC will issue a preliminary Tornado Watch and then the affected NWFO will then adjust the watch (adding or eliminating counties/parishes) and then issue it to the public. After adjusting the watch, the NWFO will let the public know which counties are included by way of a Watch Redefining Statement. During the watch, the NWFO will keep the public informed on what is happening in the watch area and also let the public know when the watch has expired or been canceled.
Ways to prepare and stay safe now
- Watch out for dark, rotating clouds. If you see one, take shelter immediately! Listen for a tornado siren. If you hear it, seek shelter immediately!
- Turn on your TV/radio. You’ll get the latest weather updates and emergency instructions.
- Avoid unnecessary car trips. You don’t want to be caught outside if a tornado comes.
- Bring in outdoor furniture and other items that could blow away. These may become a safety hazard.
- Take shelter immediately! Flying debris from high winds causes most injuries.
- Keep windows closed and stay away from them. Glass from broken windows can injure you.
- If you’re in a building, go to the basement or lowest floor. That’s the safest location.
- If you’re in a mobile home, go to the nearest building or storm shelter. Even if tied down, your home can’t protect you.
- If you’re driving, fasten your seatbelt and go to the nearest building for cover. You’re safer indoors.
- If your car gets hit by debris, stop, cover your head, and stay below the windows. You’re safer inside the car than outside.
- If you’re outside, lie down in a low, flat area and cover your head with your hands. You’re safer lying down than standing up.
- Avoid entering damaged buildings. Broken glass and exposed nails can injure you.
- Keep away from downed power lines and objects touching them. You can be electrocuted.
- Wear sturdy shoes, long sleeves, and gloves when walking through debris. Stepping on nails and glass can injure you.