Boalsburg Tornado Confirmed, Thunderstorms Possible This Weekend
After much wondering and conversation over the past half day, the verdict is in. The National Weather Service has confirmed that a tornado was indeed on the ground in Boalsburg during Thursday’s storm.
Last night, a funnel cloud – the precursor to a tornado – hit Boalsburg, but it was not confirmed at the time if a tornado actually occurred.
According to John LaCorte, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, the tornado was on the ground for about a one mile path. It is being referred to as the “Nittany Farms tornado.”
A Facebook video of the tornado can be found by clicking here.
LaCorte says the tornado is classified as a low end EF-1. Tornadoes are rated on a scale of 0-5 with an EF-5 classified as the most powerful.
An EF-1 tornado consists of winds between 86-110 miles per hour. The damage is not usually severe, but the winds can rip off some doors and windows and also impact roofs.
“There was a bit of structural damage, but the tornado mostly spanned farmland,” said LaCorte.
An actual tornado has never hit the core State College area, but Boalsburg did previously have one on February 16, 1990 – an F1 under the old rating system which is comparable to a current EF-1.
The tornado Thursday evening was part of a storm that pounded State College with three inches of rain. AccuWeather senior meteorologist Mike Piggot dubbed it “one of the largest non-tropical storms in 20 years” to hit State College.
Tom Kines, another senior meteorologist at AccuWeather says some bad flooding occurred on East College Avenue near the Nittany Mall, a spot that is usually susceptible during intense storms.
“There’s a bit of a low spot there so water builds up. When you get that significant amount of rain, there’s just too much water for it to handle, and drainage can’t handle it. The same thing happened downtown on College Avenue.”
“After a little while, the drainage can catch up and the flash flooding goes away but initially it can be pretty bad."
Now that the storm has subsided, what is expected going forward and could more flooding be on the horizon?
Kines says showers and thunderstorms are possible just about every afternoon this weekend. If it rains though, it should not be quite as extensive as yesterday.
“For us to have a 4-6 hour period of such steady and heavy rain this time of year, that’s a bit unprecedented,” Kines says.
Rain this weekend – if it does occur – will be more hit or miss, much different from Thursday’s storm.
This does not mean flooding is impossible, especially with some rivers and streams already full, but it should not be as bad as Thursday afternoon and evening.
“Flooding is certainly still a threat, but the thing we have going for us is that any rain this weekend should be a big more spotty. Yesterday was more of a big blob, and that shouldn’t happen again,” says Kines.
Click here for the latest AccuWeather forecast on the StateCollege.com homepage.