“Flash flood emergency” for Prince George’s County

UPDATE, 1:27 a.m.: The National Weather Service has issued a “flash flood emergency” for eastern Prince George’s County, according to the Prince George’s County Fire Department. The alert doesn’t appear to be on the NWS website, but the fire department has the text of the warning in a blog post that went up some time within the last hour.

The post also says the department has rescued more than two dozen people with no injuries, but that it has cut back the number of personnel on the roads because visibility has reportedly been cut down to two feet in some cases. Check out the department’s Twitter feed for some more information — its most recent tweet said “A Flash Flood Emergency – Who knew the NWS even had such a thing!!!”

UPDATE, 1:07 a.m.: The flash flood warning has been pushed forward to 4:45 a.m. for parts of Prince George’s County; the National Weather Service is reporting that in some places between three and five inches of rain has fallen since about 10 p.m. and will continue to fall on saturated ground. The latest warning calls the flooding “a very dangerous situation” and said “numerous high water rescues” have been executed in the warned area, which also includes parts of Anne Arundel, Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s counties. Careful, comrades, and stay out of those cars.

UPDATE, 10:37 p.m.: The tornado warning has expired, but northern Prince George’s County — that’s us — is under a flash flood warning until 4 a.m. Thursday. Again, an NWS warning is the most stern alert it’s got. Be careful on the roads. Here’s what the warning says to do:

EXCESSIVE RUNOFF FROM HEAVY RAINFALL WILL CAUSE FLOODING OF SMALL CREEKS AND STREAMS…URBAN AREAS…HIGHWAYS…STREETS AND UNDERPASSES AS WELL AS OTHER DRAINAGE AREAS AND LOW LYING SPOTS. BE ESPECIALLY CAUTIOUS AT NIGHT WHEN IT IS HARDER TO RECOGNIZE THE DANGERS OF FLOODING. IF FLASH FLOODING IS OBSERVED ACT QUICKLY. MOVE UP TO HIGHER GROUND TO ESCAPE FLOOD WATERS. DO NOT STAY IN AREAS SUBJECT TO FLOODING WHEN WATER BEGINS RISING.

UPDATE, 10:10 p.m.: The warning has been modified to include all of Prince George’s County. The county is also under a flash flood watch until 5 a.m., and a more severe flash flood warning has been issued for the western part of the county until midnight.

Original post, 9:55 p.m.: The National Weather Service issued a tornado warning from 9:46 p.m. until 10:15 p.m. Wednesday night effective in southeast Prince George’s County — a chuck of the county that College Park is not in but it certainly pretty close to.

A warning is the most definite NWS predictor of severe weather short of “you are currently in a tornado,” and their website defines it as being”issued when a tornado is indicated by the WSR-88D radar or sighted by spotters,” though, if the current alert is any indication, it doesn’t necessarily mean that one touched down.

This warning states that “doppler radar indicated a severe thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado over eastern Charles County, or 8 miles west of Hallowing Point, moving northeast at 30 mph.” Parts of Charles and St. Mary’s counties were also warned. This post will be updated with the latest alerts as they come out.

Again, the warning says College Park isn’t in harm’s way at the moment, but if that changes, here’s what it says to do:

TAKE COVER NOW. MOVE TO AN INTERIOR ROOM ON THE LOWEST FLOOR OF A STURDY BUILDING AND AVOID WINDOWS. IF OUTDOORS OR IN A MOBILE HOME OR VEHICLE…MOVE TO THE CLOSEST SUBSTANTIAL SHELTER AND PROTECT YOURSELF FROM FLYING DEBRIS.

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