Tropical Storm Isaias brings with it weather conditions that are “somewhat favorable for tornadoes” to form on Long Island, experts warned.
The National Weather Service issued a tornado watch for Nassau and Suffolk counties and the entire tri-state area through 4 p.m. Tuesday. That’s in addition to the region being under a tropical storm warning, coastal flood warning, and high surf advisory.
“Emergency plans should continue to include possible tornadoes,” Upton-based NWS meteorologists said in a statement. The agency noted that there was a 10 percent chance of tornadoes.
The last tornado to hit Long Island was an EF0, the weakest on the Enhanced Fujita Scale that ranks tornado strength, in Manorville over Labor Day weekend last year.
The tornado watch came as Isaias had weakened in strength from a category 1 hurricane back into a tropical storm after making landfall in North Carolina as it makes its way up the East Coast. The center of the storm was moving across southeastern Virginia as of Tuesday morning. It’s expected to arrive in New York early Tuesday afternoon.
NWS warned that if the tornado watch is upgraded to a tornado warning, which would indicate a twister is more likely and not just a precaution about “somewhat favorable” conditions, the public should act fast.
“If a tornado warning is issued for your area, be ready to shelter quickly, preferably away from windows and in an interior room not prone to flooding,” NWS said, adding that residents should closely monitor local news outlets for weather updates. “If driving, scan the roadside for quick shelter options.”
Even if a tornado doesn’t form, tropical-storm-force winds of up to 50 mph with 70 mph gusts are forecast to down trees and utility lines, causing power outages, in addition to heavy rains and storm surges causing local flooding.
Related Story: Long Island Under Tropical Storm Warning Ahead of Isaias