A tornado watch has been issued for the Pittsburgh area.  For updates on this, please check www.weather.com or The National Weather Service.

The following information is from the American Red Cross on being prepared for severe weather:

The National Weather Service has issued a tornado watch for Southwestern Pennsylvania this evening, and the American Red Cross is urging area residents to be prepared for potentially severe storms. With tornadoes come the potential for high winds that can uproot trees and spread debris, causing injuries and substantial damage to property.

The American Red Cross encourages residents to keep the following safety tips in mind when preparing for a severe storm or potential tornado:

Prepare a Home Plan:

  • Pick a “safe room” or uncluttered area without windows where family members and pets can go during a storm. Putting as many walls between you and the outside provides the most protection. The room should be on the lowest floor possible. Basements, center hallways, bathrooms and closets are possible safe room locations.
  • If you are in a high-rise building or apartment complex and can not get to the lowest floor quickly, pick a place in a hallway or center of the building.

Assemble a Disaster Supplies Kit Containing:

  • First Aid kit and essential medications or special items for infant, elderly or disabled family members
  • Foods that don’t require cooking or refrigeration, such as granola bars or canned goods, along with a manual can opener
  • At least three gallons of water per person per day to last for three days
  • Protective clothing, bedding and sleeping bags
  • Battery-powered or crank radio, flashlight and extra batteries

Stay Tuned for Storm Information:

  • Listen to your local radio and TV stations for updated storm information.
  • Know the definitions of a tornado WATCH and a tornado WARNING. A tornado WATCH means a tornado is possible in your area. A tornado WARNING means a tornado has been sighted and may be headed for your area.
  • If a Tornado WATCH is issued, continue to monitor news and be prepared to take cover.
  • If a Tornado WARNING is issued, go to the safe room immediately. If you are outside, hurry to the basement of a nearby building. If you are in a car or mobile home, get out immediately and head to the nearest building for safety. If you are outside and there are no buildings around, lie flat in a low lying area or ditch and cover your head with your arms and hands.

For more information on preparing for severe storms, call the local Red Cross at 888-217-9599 or visit swpa.redcross.org.