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Tornado watch expires in Centre County

The National Weather Service issued a tornado watch Monday, which remained in effect until about 6 p.m.

The watch spanned 25 counties, including Centre County, and initially was in effect until 8 p.m.

The forecasted severe weather caused the State College Borough to cancel its council meeting and Bellefonte Area School District to move its graduation ceremony indoors.

Earlier forecasts called for heavier thunderstorms late Monday afternoon and evening but did not include the possibility of tornadoes. However, NWS meteorologist Paul Head said the severe storms had the potential to produce one or two tornadoes in Central Pennsylvania.

“Conditions are favorable for the development of tornadoes, but we won’t have a widespread outbreak like in 1985,” Head said. “When you think about it, when we issue a watch the chance of a tornado is 2 percent or less, so it’s a pretty small likelihood for any one spot.”

Head said warm air moving up through Virginia collided with a cold front from the west, which caused thunderstorms south, southwest, west and northwest of Centre County in the early afternoon.

“I’m most concerned with damaging winds and getting into areas where the storms repeat,” Head said. “We’ve had thunderstorms all over the map in different towns from New York to Kentucky, and we haven’t had a heavy one yet. Our turn will come.”

The first line of thunderstorms hit Centre County at about 4 p.m. Another line of storms was expected to hit the area again Monday evening.

“It won’t be continuous thunderstorms, but we’ll get two or three surges,” Head said.

It was expected to rain overnight, and scattered thunderstorms could return Tuesday afternoon.

The dreary weather should end by Wednesday.

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