Tornado warning triggers shelter-in-place alert at university

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Severe weather forced some classes and student activities to switch to an online format or to relocate. Credit: Kylie Cooper

Philadelphia County was under tornado warning Wednesday night as high winds and heavy rain hit the area.

The remnants of Hurricane Ida, which caused severe damage in Louisiana, at 5:29 p.m. triggered several alerts from the National Weather Service and one from the Penn’s Public Safety Division, advising members of the Penn community to ” take shelter until further notice ”.

The county is still under tornado watch until 10 p.m. tonight. Unlike a tornado warning, which indicates “imminent” danger to life and property, a tornado watch tells people to be ready to act if a warning is issued.

A flash flood warning is also in place until 11:30 p.m., according to the NWS. The Schuylkill River, located on the outskirts of the Penn campus, poses a “considerable risk” of flooding.

Severe weather forced some of Penn’s student activities to move online. Budget meetings for all Penn club sports teams, which were to be held in person at the Pottruck Health and Fitness Center, have been moved to a virtual format, Assistant Structured Sports Director Roger Jerez wrote in an email to students.

The National Weather Service’s first tornado warning for Philadelphia – which was scheduled to expire at 5:45 p.m. – was extended several times before expiring at 7:15 p.m.

A tornado was confirmed in Montgomery County, a suburb just north of Philadelphia, around 6 p.m. Wednesday.

During a tornado warning, the National Weather Service advises people to go to an indoor room on the ground floor of a sturdy building, avoiding windows if possible. People in a mobile home, vehicle, or outdoors should move to the nearest substantial shelter and protect themselves from flying debris.

NWS estimated Wednesday that the rainfall total for Philadelphia, Trenton, Wilmington and the I-95 corridor would be between two and four inches, according to NBC10 Philadelphia.

This is a developing story which was last updated at 7:39 pm. Please come back here for updates.

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