Pittsburgh Weather: Tornado Watch Issued, Storms Could Bring Lightning, Hail And Destructive Winds

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Stormy conditions are moving into western Pennsylvania.

At this point, the window for the severe weather is relatively broad starting at 2 p.m. and going through midnight.

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

The National Weather Service issued a Special Weather Statement that will remain in effect until 10:15 p.m. Officials say a strong thunderstorm capable of producing hail, damaging winds and heavy rain will move through parts of Westmoreland, Allegheny and Indiana Counties.

A Flash Flood Warning is in effect until 12:30 a.m. for Indiana, New Kensington and Lower Burrell.

A Flash Flood Warning is also in effect for Butler, Fernway and Beaver Falls until 12 a.m.

A Tornado Warning was issued for parts of Armstrong and Indiana Counties until 4:15 p.m.

Officials from Purchase Line School District say they are keeping children sheltered inside the school until the weather passes.

KDKA’s Rachelle Mongiovi reported several streets in Butler County are currently under water.

As if on cue, just before 2 p.m., the National Weather Service issued a Tornado Watch for parts of Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia through 10 p.m.

Hail that is the approximate size of a tennis ball was spotted in Venango County.

Photo Credit: (Tim Guju)

The watch is in effect for Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Clarion, Fayette, Indiana, Jefferson, Lawrence, Mercer, Venango, Washington and Westmoreland counties.

According to trained weather spotters with the National Weather Service, hail the size of golf balls and several downed trees have already been reported in Mercer County.

The National Weather Service has also issued a Severe Thunderstorm Warning for Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Indiana and Lawrence counties.

The set-up for today has us between high pressure to the south, situated over Georgia and the Carolinas, with an upper low located over northern Ontario. The subtropical jet is parked right overhead.

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

Several dynamics are coming into play to make for a nasty set-up, including speed sheer aloft along with divergence of air aloft and convergence of air at the surface. This will likely cause a relatively narrow band of storms spanning from the west to the east. As storms fire along this line, they will move quickly from west to east. Lightning, large hail, destructive straight line winds and tornadoes will all be possible through the day today, but mainly starting after 2 p.m.

Right now, the area is painted under an enhanced risk of severe weather. This is the third of five tiers, and generally indicates a low risk of tornadoes along with other severe weather being possible. We may hit high enough percentages to see a (rare for this area) moderate risk being issued for parts or Pennsylvania.

This is the first of three straight days where severe weather will be possible across the state and here in Western Pennsylvania. Buckle up.

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

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Highs today should hit the mid-80s before rain showers and storms arrive. Winds will gusty, coming out of the east at 7-17 with wind gusts around 30 mph. Highs will probably be reached around 3 p.m., just ahead of storms dropping in from the north.

Wednesday highs will fall to near 80 degrees. The 70s will be back for highs on Thursday, lasting into the weekend.

Over the next seven days, only one (Monday) is forecast to be dry.

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