The National Weather Service in Mount Holly has issues a tornado watch for Mercer, Hunterdon, Burlington Camden, Warren and Gloucester counties until 10 p.m. on Tuesday night. Showers, thunderstorms, hail, damaging winds, gusty winds, and heavy rain are also possible in the region on Tuesday night.
A tornado watch means that you should be prepared because tornadoes are possible in and near the watch area. Review and discuss your emergency plans and check supplies. Be ready to act quickly if a warning is issued or you suspect a tornado is approaching. Watches are issued by the National Weather Serivce’s Storm Prediction Center for counties where tornadoes may occur. The watch area is typically large, covering numerous counties or even states.
Warning signs of a tornado include:
- Severe thunderstorms, with frequent thunder and lightning
- An extremely dark sky, sometimes highlighted by green or yellow clouds
- A rumbling sound or a whistling sound.
- A funnel cloud at the rear base of a thundercloud, often behind a curtain of heavy rain or hail.
During a tornado if you are in a house
- Go to the basement or take shelter in a small interior ground floor room such as a bathroom, closet or hallway.
- If you have no basement, protect yourself by taking shelter under a heavy table or desk.
- In all cases, stay away from windows, outside walls and doors.
If you are in an office or apartment building
- Take shelter in an inner hallway or room, ideally in the basement or on the ground floor.
- Do not use the elevator.
- Stay away from windows.
If you are in a gymnasium, church or auditorium
- Large buildings with wide-span roofs may collapse if a tornado hits.
- If possible, find shelter in another building.
- If you are in one of these buildings and cannot leave, take cover under a sturdy structure such as a table or desk.
Avoid cars and mobile homes
- More than half of all deaths from tornadoes happen in mobile homes.
- Find shelter elsewhere, preferably in a building with a strong foundation.
- If no shelter is available, lie down in a ditch away from the car or mobile home. Beware of flooding from downpours and be prepared to move.
If you are driving
- If you spot a tornado in the distance go to the nearest solid shelter.
- If the tornado is close, get out of your car and take cover in a low-lying area, such as a ditch.
In all cases
- Get as close to the ground as possible, protect your head and watch for flying debris.
- Do not chase tornadoes – they are unpredictable and can change course abruptly.
- A tornado is deceptive. It may appear to be standing still but is, in fact, moving toward you.