In their recent discussions, the Charleston Weather Service Forecast Office has gone in to more detail about the possible tornado threat to coastal Georgia and South Carolina. Here is what they have to say …
Model soundings are certainly concerning and indicative of a classic tropical tornadoWSFO Charleston forecast discussion
environment … A couple of key things to keep in mind. First, the tornado threat window will be in place for an extended period of time, roughly 18-20 hours or so from midday through the overnight, so vigilance will be important. Second, much of this tornado threat window will occur at night so it will be important for the public to have a way to receive and react to warnings during typical sleeping hours.
This is why I strongly advise having a NOAA weather radio on hand. They have a very loud alert, and unlike sirens, cell phone or app warnings, these go off the moment the forecaster issues the warning. Trust me – when they go off, you don’t want a cat sleeping on you! Those seconds to minutes count. In the case of sirens, they aren’t meant to be heard inside even though they are sometimes. They are also highly dependent on wind direction – and in strong winds like today, often you can be outside and upwind and not hear them.
So what do you do when you get an alert? In this part of the country we don’t normally have tornado shelters or specially constructed “safe rooms.” But we also don’t get the classical, long track, strong F4 or F5 tornadoes, and tropical cyclones’ generally don’t spawn that kind of twister anyway. The best protection is a small, interior, windowless room or basement on the lowest level of a sturdy building. So while nothing to panic over, be aware of the potential today, and be alert for warnings.