To help residents of Virginia practice tornado safety, a Statewide Tornado Drill will be held Tuesday, March 11, at 9:45 a.m. So far, more than 391,000 people have registered for the drill.
Registration for the tornado drill is not necessary, but people can learn more and show their support by signing up at www.ReadyVirginia.gov. Everyone in Virginia can participate, including businesses and organizations, schools and colleges, and families and individuals.
“It’s vitally important to know what to do when a tornado warning is issued for your area. The Statewide Tornado Drill gives everyone an opportunity to practice,” said Brett Burdick, acting state coordinator of emergency management. “Knowing what to do can save your life.”
The annual drill is a joint effort of the Virginia Department of Emergency Management and the National Weather Service.
“Tornadoes in Virginia don’t have a season. In fact, three tornadoes hit southeast Virginia Jan. 11,” said Bill Sammler, NWS warning coordination meteorologist. “Tornadoes are possible in Virginia any time of year. Every tornado warning should be taken very seriously, and if a warning is issued for your area, then you need to take cover.”
To start the tornado drill, at 9:45 a.m. March 11 the NWS will send a test tornado warning that will trigger a tone alert and broadcast message on NOAA Weather Radio. The message will be picked up by TV and radio broadcasts, simulating what listeners will hear during an actual tornado warning.
When the test tornado warning is sounded, people should move as quickly as possible to a safe area in a sturdy building. Safe areas are basements and interior rooms on the lowest level of a building such as bathrooms, closets or hallways. In choosing a safe area, stay away from windows. Once in the safe area, people should crouch down or sit on the floor facing down, and cover heads with hands.
For help in conducting a tornado drill and to register for the statewide drill, go to ReadyVirginia.gov.
Recent tornado counts in Virginia:
- 2013: 5 tornadoes
- 2012: 11 tornadoes
- 2011: 51 tornadoes, the second highest number on record.