Thunderstorms are common throughout the area of Schuylkill County.
Thunderstorms can spawn flash floods, tornadoes, contain dangerous lightning and high winds and cause damage over a wide area.
Many hazardous weather events are associated with thunderstorms. Under the right conditions, rainfall from thunderstorms causes flash flooding, killing more people each year than hurricanes, tornadoes or lightning. Lightning is responsible for many fires around the world each year, and causes fatalities. Hail up to the size of softballs damages cars and windows, and kills livestock caught out in the open. Strong (up to more than 120 mph) straight-line winds associated with thunderstorms knock down trees, power lines and mobile homes. Tornadoes (with winds up to about 300 mph) can destroy all but the best-built man-made structures.
A Severe Thunderstorm WATCH is issued by the NOAA Storm Prediction Center meteorologists who are watching the weather 24/7 across the entire U.S. for weather conditions that are favorable for severe thunderstorms. A watch can cover parts of a state or several states. Watch and prepare for severe weather and stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radio to know when warnings are issued.
A Severe Thunderstorm WARNING is issued by your local NOAA National Weather Service Forecast Office meteorologists who watch a designated area 24/7 for severe weather that has been reported by spotters or indicated by radar. Warnings mean there is a serious threat to life and property to those in the path of the storm. ACT now to find safe shelter! A warning can cover parts of counties or several counties in the path of danger.
HOW TO STAY SAFE WHEN A THUNDERSTORM THREATENS
- Know your area’s risk for thunderstorms. Schuylkill County has experienced severe thunderstorms in all seasons; though, the most active time in our area is April through October.
- Sign up for Schuylkill Alert, your county’s warning system.
- The Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) can be received through you cellular phone if you are in areas under a warning. Please insure that the alert feature is not de-activated on your device.
- The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio also provide emergency alerts.
- Many media outlets also feature mobile alerts to your smart phone, consider signing up for the service.
- Pay attention to weather reports. The National Weather Service will issue Watches and Warnings to alert us of the potential danger.
- Identify nearby, sturdy buildings close to where you live, work, study, and play.
- Cut down or trim trees that may be in danger of falling on your home.
- Consider buying surge protectors, lightning rods, or a lightning protection system to protect your home, appliances, and electronic devices.
- When thunder roars, go indoors. A sturdy building is the safest place to be during a thunderstorm.
- Pay attention to weather reports and warnings of thunderstorms. Be ready to change plans, if necessary, to be near shelter.
- When you receive a thunderstorm warning or hear thunder, go inside immediately.
- If indoors, avoid running water or using landline phones. Electricity can travel through plumbing and phone lines.
- Protect your property. Unplug appliances and other electric devices. Secure outside furniture.
- If boating or swimming, get to land and find a sturdy, grounded shelter or vehicle immediately.
- If necessary, take shelter in a car with a metal top and sides. Do not touch anything metal.
- Avoid flooded roadways. Turn Around. Don’t Drown! Just six inches of fast-moving water can knock you down, and one foot of moving water can sweep your vehicle away.
Be Safe AFTER
- Listen to authorities and weather forecasts for information on whether it is safe to go outside and instructions regarding potential flash flooding.
- Watch for fallen power lines and trees. Report them immediately. With the exception of Schuylkill Haven Borough and Saint Clair Borough and immediately adjacent areas, all electric utility within Schuylkill County is provided by PPL Electric Utilities. If you have a power issue of any sort, contact PPL immediately by calling 1-800-342-5775 or visit the website.
- A downed power line can still carry electricity, but you can't tell by looking at it. Stay far away from downed or low-hanging power lines and report the situation.
- If a power line should fall across a vehicle, do not attempt to exit the vehicle or remove someone from it. Call 911 immediately and await the arrival of first responders.
Additional safety measures can be found at https://www.ready.gov.