NEW JERSEY — The NJ Office of Emergency Management issued a Tornado Watch for counties south and west of Union County. Meanwhile, Union County is expecting heavy rains and high wind gusts.

The OEM advises that drivers stay alert tonight for possible flooding and dangerous driving conditions. The Tornado Watch is in effect until 11 p.m. for the following New Jersey counties:

  • Atlantic
  • Burlington
  • Camden
  • Cape May
  • Cumberland
  • Gloucester
  • Mercer
  • Salem

The National Weather Service issues a Tornado Watch when conditions are favorable for the development of tornadoes near the watch area. Their size can vary depending on the weather situation. Usually, they are issued for a duration of 4 to 8 hours and are announced well in advance of the actual occurrence of severe weather. During the watch, people should review tornado safety rules and be prepared to move a place of safety if threatening weather approaches.

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Ways to prepare and stay safe:

Before

  • Watch out for dark, rotating clouds. (If you see one, take shelter immediately.)
  • Listen for a tornado siren.(If you hear it, seek shelter immediately.)
  • Turn on your TV/radio to get the latest weather updates.
  • Avoid unnecessary car trips. (Don't get caught outside if a tornado comes.)
  • Bring in outdoor furniture and other items that could blow away.

During

  • Take shelter immediately.
  • Keep windows closed and stay away from them. (Glass from broken windows can injure you.)
  • If you’re in a building, go to the basement or lowest floor. (It's the safest location.)
  • If you’re driving, be sure you have fastened your seatbelt and go to the nearest building for cover.
  • If your car gets hit by debris, stop, cover your head, and stay below the windows.
  • If you’re outside, lie down in a low, flat area and cover your head with your hands.
  • You’re safer lying down than standing up.

After

  • Avoid entering damaged buildings.
  • Keep away from downed power lines and objects touching them.
  • Wear sturdy shoes, long sleeves, and gloves when walking through debris.