Public Information Statement
Issued by NWS State College, PA

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000 NOUS41 KCTP 191010 PNSCTP PAZ004>006-010>012-017>019-024>028-033>037-041-042-045-046- 049>053-056>059-063>066-200400- Public Information Statement National Weather Service State College PA 610 AM EDT Mon Apr 19 2021 ...Pennsylvania Severe Weather Awareness Week... This week, April 19th through April 23rd, is Severe Weather Awareness Week in Pennsylvania. Now is the time to prepare for the upcoming severe weather season. We will be covering various topics about severe weather safety and preparedness throughout the week. Our topic for today is Severe Thunderstorms. We will cover what classifies a thunderstorm as severe, and what the differences are between a Severe Thunderstorm Watch and a Severe Thunderstorm Warning. We will also give you information on what to do when a watch or warning is issued for your area. What is a severe thunderstorm? A thunderstorm is considered severe if it produces wind gusts of 58 miles per hour or higher, and/or hail one inch in diameter or larger. Those hailstones are about the size of a quarter. Severe thunderstorms are often accompanied by torrential downpours and frequent lightning. They can also produce tornadoes. Damage from the strong wind gusts of a severe thunderstorm can be just as bad as the damage made by a tornado. What is a Severe Thunderstorm Watch? A Severe Thunderstorm Watch is issued in order to alert you that thunderstorms with damaging winds and large hail are possible at your location. A watch by itself does not mean that severe weather is actually occurring yet, but it does mean that the ingredients for severe weather are present and severe thunderstorms may develop. A severe thunderstorm watch usually covers an area as large as a state and is in effect for several hours, expiring only when the severe thunderstorms are expected to end. What should you do when a Severe Thunderstorm Watch is issued? Go about your normal activities, but watch the sky around you for developing storms. Periodically check NOAA Weather Radio or other media outlets for forecast updates and possible warnings. Know which county you live in, and which ones border your community. Think of a safe place to be and plan a route that you can use to get that safe place quickly. What is a Severe Thunderstorm Warning? A Severe Thunderstorm Warning means a severe thunderstorm is occurring and is going to move through your location soon. It is your signal that you will need to take quick action to protect your life and property. Severe Thunderstorm Warnings are issued by the National Weather Service when meteorologists detect a severe thunderstorm using Doppler radar or when damage has been reported by trained Skywarn weather spotters or law enforcement. Typically, a Severe Thunderstorm Warning will be issued for an area as big as a county or two, and for a period of up to one hour. In the text of the warning statement, we try to make a specific list of towns that are likely to be in the path of the storm. Pay close attention and see if communities or landmarks near you are mentioned in the warning. What should you do when a Severe Thunderstorm Warning is issued for your location? If you are outdoors, get inside your home or another sturdy building. Boaters should head to shore immediately. When indoors, go to an interior room on the lowest level. Stay away from windows and exterior doors. Do not use electrical appliances and avoid using the telephone, as lightning can travel through electrical and telephone lines. Also avoid taking a shower, sitting in a bath, or doing the dishes during a thunderstorm, as lightning can travel through plumbing. If you are driving on a highway, safely exit the highway before entering a thunderstorm, as thunderstorms can produce very low visibility in heavy rain. Heavy rain can also flood roads quickly, so never try to drive through an area where water covers the road, even if you think it is shallow. Water may sweep your vehicle away if you attempt to drive through it. For additional thunderstorm and severe weather safety information check out our web page at: www.weather.gov/ctp/severeweatherawarenessweek Our weather safety topics for the rest of the week will be, Tuesday, Outlooks, Watches, and Warnings. Wednesday, Flash Flooding. Thursday, Tornadoes. Friday, Ways to become involved - SKYWARN spotters, Weather Ready Nation, StormReady, and HAM radio. $$

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