York County has tornado watch, flash flood watch overnight

Lindsey O'Laughlin
York Dispatch
A severe thunderstorm that started with a tornado warning moves into the Manchester/Mount Wolf area, Tuesday, May 15, 2018. John A. Pavoncello photo

Updated at 9:20 p.m.: The tornado warning has expired, but York County remains under a tornado watch until 3 a.m. Monday, according to the National Weather Service.

The area is also under a flash flood watch until 6 a.m. Monday.

Updated at 8 p.m.: York County is under a tornado warning until 8:30 p.m. according to the National Weather Service in State College.

According to the warning, a severe thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado was located near Manchester township at 7:44 p.m. and is moving northeast at 45 mph.

Radar has detected rotation. There could be flying debris and quarter-sized hail.

The NWS is warning that mobile homes could be destroyed, and that damage to windows, vehicles and trees is likely.

Residents should take shelter.

Updated at 7 p.m.: The National Weather Service has issued a tornado watch for 50 counties in Pennsylvania, including York, Lancaster, Dauphin and Adams counties, effective until 3 a.m. Monday.

A tornado watch means conditions are favorable for forming tornadoes, but no funnel clouds have been spotted.

In a statement on its website, the NWS also said its meteorologists detected a cluster of strong thunderstorms moving northeast from Gettsyburg, and the cluster could impact York County until about 7:30 p.m.

The storms could carry wind gusts of up to 50 mph. There's also a flash flood watch in effect until 6 a.m. Monday.

Meteorologists said the storms could intensify and urged residents to monitor local weather reports for additional information.

Posted at 2:08 p.m.: Severe thunderstorms with winds up to 60 mph and hail an inch wide are possible in York County Sunday evening and overnight, according to the National Weather Service.

Forecasters will have more specific information in the late afternoon or evening Sunday, April 14, after National Weather Service offices in other regions launch weather balloons, said David Martin, meteorologist for NWS in State College.

"It’s a type of day when people will want to listen to their TV and radios and social media for further updates," he said.

Moist, unstable air is currently moving over the area, but Martin said a cold front in the Midwest is on its way eastward, and the right atmospheric conditions could produce high winds, heavy rain and hail.

In its hazardous weather outlook for York, Lancaster and Adams counties, the NWS said an isolated, weak and short-lived tornado is also possible.

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If severe weather does materialize, Martin said people should seek shelter in an interior room of their home, such as a bathroom or basement, and stay away from streams, rivers and trees if outdoors.

"When that (cold front) gets close to the area later on tonight, that’s when we can expect at least the threat of severe weather," said Tom Kines, meteorologist for AccuWeather at State College.

Kines does not anticipate any severe weather for York County on Sunday afternoon, but he said there could be periods of heavy rain, with a total rainfall of half an inch by Monday morning. 

It's important to remember that severe thunderstorms typically don't impact everyone in a widespread area, Kines said.

"The one drawback to the rain that we’re getting now is that, things are greening up pretty quickly now," Kines said. "It’s going to cause the grass to grow, and for those people who don’t like mowing the lawn, it's a high likelihood you’re going to need to by the end of the up coming week."