This morning, I was getting ready for work. I was picking out clothes in my closet and BAM a huge thunderclap startled my daughter, myself, and the dog. We ran to look out the window to make sure there were no fires. Thankfully, nothing was on fire but my daughter said, "Look at that tree, mama!"

It had struck the side of a tree and blown shards of bark everywhere. Apparently there was a LOT of force because one piece blew through my window screen. And, this morning's storms aren't the worst of the day.

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Batton down the hatches, we are in for some stormy weather today. According to the National Weather Service, we are currently under a tornado watch in the tri-state area.

National Weather Service
National Weather Service
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A Tornado Watch remains in effect until 4 PM for the area.

Thunderstorms continue through the day today across the Quad State. Some of these storms may be severe with damaging winds the primary severe weather hazard. Localized flooding issues may develop today through tonight in areas of thunderstorms and training heavy rain.

Strong gradient winds are expected today. Wind gusts up to 40 mph are possible. Please refer to the Wind Advisory for details.

Most of the region has been upgraded to a slight (level 3 of 5) risk of severe thunderstorms today. The message remains the same: Be vigilant, have your tornado plan ready, and be ready to act if you receive a Tornado Warning.

Here are more updates about the storm.

HOW TO PREPARE FOR POWERFUL STORMS

If we've learned anything about the tri-state it's that when we are told to plan for severe weather, we need to plan for the worst-case scenario because oftentimes it is.

The NWS also has some advice on how to do just that.

MAKE SURE YOU CAN RECEIVE ALERTS

Make sure you have a weather radio handy. If you don't have one, you can get one today at a sporting goods store or big box store.

Make sure you can receive alerts on your phone. Here are directions on making sure they are on. You can also register at codered.org To create your account and set up your registration to receive CodeRED alerts, you can visit Public.CodeRED.org and follow the directions provided to register to begin receiving alerts.

And make sure you download our app and turn on alerts for more updates as they become available from the NWS and Eyewitness News.

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MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A TORNADO SAFE-SPACE READY

You'll also need a tornado safe-space. Have a plan in place before you get a tornado warning. The CDC recommends, "Go to the basement or an inside room without windows on the lowest floor (bathroom, closet, center hallway). If possible, avoid sheltering in a room with windows. For added protection get under something sturdy (a heavy table or workbench). Cover your body with a blanket, sleeping bag or mattress."

The NWS has some advice on where you should go in the event of a tornado warning.

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NWS
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HAVE CLOTHING & SHOES PREPPED

Get your running shoes and appropriate clothes ready. Have them next to your bed in case you need to make a break for it.

BREAK OUT THE WEATHER HELMET

This can be any kind of helmet you have handy such as a bike helmet or construction hard hat. Better to be safe and a little dorky looking than sorry.

PREPARE FOR OUTAGES

In the event of a power outage, make sure you are ready. Have a working flashlight handy for each person in your household. And make sure your phone is charged as well as your portable battery charger.

TIPS: Here's how you can prepare for power outages

KEEP READING: Get answers to 51 of the most frequently asked weather questions...

KEEP READING: What to do after a tornado strikes

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