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Tornado Watch for Prince George's County

The tornado watch is in effect until 9 p.m.

Updated at 6:45 p.m. - Prince George's County has been issued a tornado watch by the National Weather Service.

The watch includes Prince George's County and most of the D.C. region and is in effect until 9 p.m.

According to the Maryland Emergency Management Agency, a tornado watch means "conditions are favorable for a tornado to occur."

If the alert moves to a tornado warning, then "a tornado has been spotted or detected on weather radar and could be coming your way," said MEMA.

In the event of a tornado warning, MEMA advises staying inside and going to a basement or place where there aren't windows; if you're outside, MEMA said to lie flat in a ditch or low area

Dawn Mooney October 14, 2011 at 01:41 AM
Did this go to a tornado warning? Because UMD issued two warnings that had very specific times in which an actual tornado would hit the campus. But, it doesn't seem that any other organization issued such a specific warning. It made things absolutely shut down on campus, which was perhaps a bit of overkill considering it was just a watch.
Shannon Hoffman October 14, 2011 at 02:49 AM
Hey Dawn, I just touched base with the university police spokesman. This is what he had to say about the alerts: http://patch.com/A-mQ8B
Pachacutec October 14, 2011 at 01:47 PM
I'd heard the "warning" was a mistake. However, anyone who was in the area in 2001 when a tornado DID hit the Univ. of MD (2 people were killed), remembers what that was like. Yes, the warning at Univ. of MD yesterday might have been an inconvenience, but I'd rather they be a bit overcautious. Speaking of which, as I type this (9:45 am, 12/14), has anyone else looked outside? The sky is positively pitch dark, very threatening looking. Let's stay safe.
Dawn Mooney October 14, 2011 at 06:20 PM
I'm not sure I understand your logic Pachacutec. Just because something happened ten years ago, which I personally had significant experience with, doesn't mean that we should be "overcautious." The issue I have is that they had misinformation and somehow went through with three different warnings, shutting down campus effectively, though every other weather forecasting system had completely different information.
Sarah Nemeth October 14, 2011 at 06:41 PM
Hey Dawn! I'm sorry to read that you were personally affected by the 2001 tornado. What a sad, sad story. I was out driving last night and went past the back side of UMD and heard the awful sirens! To be honest, it scared the cornball right outta me! But, as someone who was headed to NOVA and had a long drive in traffic ahead, that was my first "alert" to the impending bad weather--tornado or not. By the time I got to NH Ave and the Beltway, it was hard to see anything. Many people were turning back or pulled over to wait it out. The warning sirens at UMD caused me to call Shannon (YAY Shannon!) who let me know about the tornado watch. I'm glad I came back home b/c my friend in NOVA said it was way worse there and that traffic was bad. Darn tornados ;-) I had to weigh in on this one -- as the "Hyattsville-area tornado paranoid" who once thought the CSX train whistle at 2 a.m. was a tornado siren and rounded up all 4 women in my house to hunker down in the basement (I had to drag one of them out of the shower and explain that a twister was on its way b/c she didn't speak English too well) only to find out that it was, in fact, just the screech of the train a few blocks away. Sarah

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