UPDATE: The National Weather Service has issued a severe thunderstorm warning until 4:15 pm Tuesday for southeastern Franklin County.
At 3:04 pm, radar indicated a severe thunderstorm over St. Thomas, Pa., moving east at 25 mph. Hazards include 60 mph winds with wind damage to roofs, siding and trees expected as well as quarter-size hail with damage to vehicles expected, according to the weather service’s website.
The warning area includes Waynesboro, Chambersburg, Shippensburg, Greencastle, St. Thomas, Guilford, Fayetteville, Wayne Heights, Mont Alto, Scotland, Carroll Valley and Gettysburg.
The weather service has issued severe thunderstorm watches for the Tri-State area, with the one for nearby Pennsylvania, including Franklin County, in effect until 7 pm and the ones for Washington County and West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle in effect until 10 pm
The National Weather Service is forecasting potential severe thunderstorms for the Four-State area Tuesday afternoon and evening, with eastern Washington County included in an area with an “enhanced” chance of seeing severe weather.
Weather threats include the possibility of an isolated tornado.
The potential storms could arrive around 4 pm for Washington County and West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle, but they also could arrive quicker, said meteorologist Austin Mansfield with the Baltimore-Washington forecast area. Weather officials were already seeing “stuff form in eastern Ohio along the front,” he said around 12:30 pm
There is a better likelihood for severe storms east of Washington County, but the enhanced area for severe weather includes the eastern edge of the county, Mansfield said.
The hazardous weather outlook for Washington County and West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle includes the potential for damaging wind gusts in excess of 58 mph and hail that could reach larger than an inch in diameter, Mansfield said. The better chances for the local area are the high winds, he said.
There’s also a possibility of isolated tornadoes, which Mansfield said is more likely in the area that includes the eastern edge of Washington County and eastward.
What’s the weather prediction for Franklin, Fulton counties?
The weather service’s State College, Pa., forecast office website shows Franklin and Fulton counties at elevated threat risk for thunderstorm wind risk Tuesday afternoon and evening. That means there is a 15% to 30% chance of wind likes of 58 mph or greater within 25 miles.
The State College hazardous weather statement mentions the possibility of damaging winds 60 mph or greater and large hail over an inch.
How should I prepare for the potential storm?
“Keep an eye on the sky” and monitor weather updates through weather radios, social media or online, Mansfield said.
Secure outside objects that could get blown around.
“Expect the unexpected,” Mansfield said.
Any storms are likely to pass through the local Tri-State area quickly, though they could stall farther to the east in the metro areas, he said.
A cold front coming down from the Northwest brings the potential for severe storms, Mansfield said. A cold front in the summer doesn’t necessarily mean temperatures will drop significantly.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism