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Despite Three Alerts, Tornado Doesn't Touch Down in College Park

University police got information from AccuWeather.

Update 10:35 p.m.

Although the National Weather Service never upgraded its tornado watch to a warning, the University of Maryland sent three emergency alerts this evening that counted down the minutes until a twister was set touch down in campus.

"A tornado is forecast to strike the campus within the next 13 minutes.  Seek shelter immediately," the first one read at 6:28 p.m.

Twenty-four minutes later, there was no tornado, but another emergency alert, this time stating that a tornado was forecast to reach campus within 10 minutes.

A third alert: Tornado will strike in three to four minutes.

In the end, no tornado reached College Park.

University of Maryland police rely on AccuWeather for weather information, spokesman Marc Limansky said.

"We had information from AccuWeather that there was a storm approaching campus with rotation and a high probability of a tornado forming," he wrote in an email.

"When they tell us we’re going to get a bad thunderstorm in a certain time period, we get a thunderstorm. When they tell us we’re going to get air to ground lightning in eight minutes, that’s what we get. So when they tell me there’s a storm with rotation heading for campus that is likely to evolve into a tornado, I’m going to rely on that," he wrote.

Limansky added that he was thankful a tornado did not touch down in College Park.

Update, 7:23 p.m.

Mang said all is normal on campus again.

Update, 7:17 p.m.

Patch photographer Robert Mang, who is at the University of Maryland, said a siren sounded three times, police drove through the McKeldin Mall area, and students took shelter in doorways but didn't seem to take the tornado threat seriously.

WUSA just reported that there was no tornado at the University of Maryland; it was just a heavy storm.

Original Post

According to a University of Maryland alert sent at 6:28 p.m., a tornado is forecast to strike campus within the next six minutes. Seek shelter immediately.

Dawn Mooney October 14, 2011 at 02:55 AM
This is very odd that their forecasts were significantly different than the other organizations. Personally, it was incredibly frustrating to find out that nowhere else in the area were these warnings given, yet campus services, such as the shuttle bus system, shut down completely!
Thibeaux Lincecum October 20, 2011 at 03:26 PM
Apparently someone in the UMD Police didn't understand the difference between a Tornado Watch and a Tornado Warning. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tornado_watch http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tornado_warning

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