Tornado Warning and Severe Storm

Storm Clouds 5-23-2011Shortly before 7:30 pm, the National Weather Service issued a tornado warning for the entire Lehigh Valley. Funnel clouds and swirling skies were reported by various emergency service agencies in the area.  The sky while standing at the NCFD Fire Station was dark and ugly (right). North Catasauqua was spared from the worst of the storm and no emergency calls were reported.  However, areas to the north, such as Slatington in Lehigh County, Lehigh Township in Northampton County, and Franklin Township in Carbon County were hit hard with flooding from the torrential downpour.  The National Weather Service reported tornadoes detected on radar in Walnutport, Northampton, and Palmer Township.  The NWS stressed this does not mean a tornado actually touched down.

It is not often we see tornado warnings or an actual tornado in our area.  However, recently the weather seems to be getting more extreme.  Many citizens may not be aware of the proper actions to take in response to a tornado.

Photo courtesy of Fire Police Lt. Matt Booth

Preparedness before the severe storm and tornado strikes is crucial.  A tornado can be highly random and many find this most alarming.  A tornado may strike a single home or multiple blocks of houses without much warning.  Below are recommendations to help you in your preparedness.

  • Pay attention to local weather reports.
  • Purchase a NOAA Weather Radio and sign up for weather alerts on your mobile phone or email.  One example is The Weather Channel's free alerts.
  • Develop a Family Preparedness Plan
  • Decide where to go if at home, school, work or in a car when a tornado warning is issued. Update these plans every school year.
  • Compile a family emergency supply kit.
    • Make certain everything you need is in one specific, easy-to-access location.
    • These contents can be assembled over a five-month period on a weekly basis
    • Perishable items should be changed or replaced every six months.

Learn how North Catasauqua and the local community prepares for emergencies by contacting:

Source: Tornado Safety: Be Prepared - Weather.com.

If your area is under a Tornado Warning, SEEK SHELTER IMMEDIATELY!!!

If you are in a building, go to a pre-designated shelter area such as a safe room, basement, storm cellar, or the lowest building level. If there is no basement, go to the center of an interior room on the lowest level away from corners, windows, doors, and outside walls. Put as many walls as possible between you and the outside. Get under a sturdy table and use your arms to protect your head and neck. Do not open windows.

If you are in a vehicle, trailer, or mobile home, get out immediately and go to the lowest floor of a sturdy, nearby building or storm shelter. Mobile homes, even if tied down, offer little protection from tornadoes.

If you are outside with no shelter, lie flat in a nearby ditch or depression and cover your head with your hands. Be aware of the potential for flooding. Do not get under an overpass or bridge. You are safer in a low, flat location. Never try to outrun a tornado in urban or congested areas in a car or truck. Instead, leave the vehicle immediately for safe shelter. Watch out for flying debris. Flying debris from tornadoes causes most fatalities and injuries.

Source: FEMA: Tornado