Tornado Watch in Effect for Maricopa County; WTF?

The National Weather Service has issued an improbable tornado watch for Maricopa and Pinal counties until 10 p.m.

Sorry, snowbirds, Phoenix isn't nothin' but sunshine all the time.

According to the National Weather Service, a major tornado in Phoenix is incredibly rare but evidently, not impossible. In fact, Arizona averages four tornadoes each year but most come during the monsoon season and often go unnoticed because they are usually relatively small and in rural sections of the state.

County Supervisor Don Stapley has declared a weather emergency, which gives the county more authority to take emergency measures to ensure public safety.

Great, a little rain and county officials get even more authority.

"This is an emergency that we are prepared for," Stapley tells KPHO. "We couldn't coordinate the work of so many departments and so many people if we did not continuously plan for these kinds of events."

The last time Phoenix was at risk of a serious tornado, according to the NWS, was the great Arizona supercell of 1999. A supercell appeared south of Prescott and nearly formed a tornado. Fortunately, as we're guessing will probably be the case with this tornado watch, a tornado never formed, and everyone went on to live another day.  

So what can you do to prepare for a tornado? We don't have a freakin' clue -- this is Phoenix, it's not exactly something we plan for. However, you can click here for the NWS' suggestions on how to stay safe.

Good night and good luck.

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James King
Contact: James King