Take all weather emergency alerts seriously

An editorial from The Times West Virginian

FAIRMONT, W.Va. — In a weather emergency, every second counts.

Think back to the derecho that devastated the state just two years ago. The powerful wind storm caused nearly 700,000 people in West Virginia to lose electricity, some who didn’t have power restored for weeks. A state of emergency was declared, and all but two of the state’s 55 counties sustained some damage or loss of power.

There are plenty of other types of severe storms that can happen in this area. Think of the last big snowstorm to dump several inches of snow on the region. Or the last time significant rain caused flooding.

Severe weather can happen quickly. And that makes weather alerts so much more important.

A storm earlier this week is a perfect example.

On Tuesday afternoon, the National Weather Service issued a tornado warning for parts of North Central West Virginia. At first glance, it might have been easy to shrug off the warning. After all, this is West Virginia. Tornadoes are rare in this area.

But on Wednesday, the National Weather Service confirmed that an EF-1 tornado had in fact touched down in Smithtown, located in southern Monongalia County, on Tuesday.

That makes knowing the difference between watches and warnings even more important…

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